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Sexual harassment: IRMA sends its own Director on leave

Virendra Pandit Ahmedabad | Updated on January 15, 2018 Published on April 12, 2017

In a rare case, the prestigious Institute of Rural Management-Anand (IRMA) has sent its own Director, RC Natarajan, on leave to enable the management complete investigation into a sexual harassment case filed against him by a woman staff member.

Late on Tuesday, IRMA’s Board of Governors took this decision against Natarajan, who had joined the Institute in September 2016, and made Dr Rakesh Saxena the Institute’s in-charge Director. IRMA was founded by the late Dr Verghese Kurien, Father of India’s White Revolution, in 1979, and is internationally-known for its achievements.

The Board decided that Natarajan would proceed on leave until the Local Complaints Committee (LCC) submits its report or till the next 100 days, whichever is earlier. The Board also extended the contract of the complainant, which was due to expire on April 30, until submission of the report, or 100 days, whichever is earlier.

Late on Tuesday evening, IRMA said in a statement that the Board expressed its concern at the turn of events and decided that effective steps would be taken to prevent any case of sexual harassment in future. Also, additional institutional provisions or structures would be put in place to effectively deal with any such complaint.

In March, the woman employee had filed a complaint of sexual harassment to the IRMA authorities and then to the Women’s Police Station in Anand. Soon after this, Natarajan went on “casual leave”, even as the police launched a manhunt. Police had also registered statements of a dozen witnesses. Some other women employees had also complained of similar instances but no one had lodged a written complaint against Natarajan so far.

Following an investigation, when he feared arrest, Natarajan, on April 4, surrendered before a court in Anand and secured a bail. The court directed him to record his statement with the police.

The sexual harassment case had put the high-profile IRMA into an acute embarrassment, soon after it reported 100% placement.

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Published on April 12, 2017
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