Mumbai: Hidden cam comes to cop's rescue in sexual harassment case

Updated: Jan 23, 2020, 07:37 IST | Anurag Kamble | Mumbai

Senior police inspector suspended following sexual harassment accusation by woman inspector discovers that his predecessor had put a hidden camera in his cabin; offers footage as proof of his innocence

Deepak Pagare
Deepak Pagare

A CCTV camera, that suspended senior police inspector of Chunabhatti police station had no idea was fitted inside his cabin by his predecessor, has captured evidence that could help prove him innocent in a sexual harassment case slapped against him by a colleague.

A technician on a regular visit to the police station for maintenance work found the footage. The evidence has been submitted to the Vishakha Committee probing the allegations.

Senior Inspector Deepak Pagare was unaware of the recording until the technician informed him about it. Pagare, posted at Chunabhatti police station, was suspended in December 2019 by Police Commissioner Sanjay Barve, after a woman Assistant Police Inspector (API) levelled allegations of sexual harassment at the workplace against him. The matter was referred to the Vishakha Committee of Mumbai police for inquiry. A DCP (Headquarters) is carrying out the inquiry.

Woman's complaint
According to the complaint, the woman API was continuously harassed, including at the workplace, by the senior PI. She had also mentioned a particular day on which Pagare allegedly sexually harassed her.

Evidence has now surfaced in the case in the form of a CCTV clip with an audio, in which the woman officer can be heard abusing Pagare
over his strictness.

Pagare, on the other hand, can be heard answering her, while keeping his cool. The visuals are also clear. The length of the clip was not revealed, but according to a highly placed source in the police department, the evidence will definitely help Pagare prove his innocence.

Evidence found
The evidence was found when a technician went to the police station to check CCTV cameras installed there. The technician checked the camera inside the senior inspector's cabin and found it in working condition.

When he checked the footage recorded by the camera, it not only had a clear picture but sound as well.

Police said the incident reported by the woman officer in which she claimed to have been assaulted, has been captured in it.

"All the allegations made by the woman officer are of harassment regarding work and verbal abuse [sexual comments]," said a senior officer. "On the contrary, Pagare has not only kept a record of the woman officer's behaviour and dereliction of duty, but has informed their seniors about it from time-to-time. We can't comment on what impact the evidence will have on the case."

When mid-day reached out to DCP (Headquarters) N Ambika who is in charge of the inquiry, she refused to talk citing the proceedings of the case as confidential.

The woman officer was not reachable for comment.

Pagare said, "The matter is under investigation and it will be unfair to comment on evidence at this point."

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