Delhi Police have arrested Congress IT cell member Chirag Patnaik on complaints of sexual harassment filed by a former employee. According to reports, Patnaik was arrested under sections 354A and 509 late last night. He later was released on bail.
The victim had filed an FIR against Patnaik on July 3rd. The victim, who was a former member of the Congress social media team managed by former actress Divya Spandana. Delhi Police have reportedly stated that Patnaik was brought to the North Avenue police station.
The victim, a former employee of the Congress social media team had alleged that Patnaik had repeatedly sexually harassed and misbehaved with her. She had stated in her complaint that she had even brought the matter to the notice of Divya Spandana, but Divya, allegedly, instead of taking action, ignored the issue and had reprimanded the victim on the pretext of bad performance in work.
BJP spokesperson Meenakshi Lekhi had discussed the issue in a press conference and had urged the Delhi Police to take appropriate action. The victim had alleged that the accused Patnaik was a key aide of Divya Spandana and Divya had mentally harassed the victim after learning of her complaint. The victim had also stated that she was forced to resign due to hostile behaviour and unsupportive working environment.
Divya Spandana, in her response, had stated that she had not received any complaint from the victim and her team ‘fully supports’ Patnaik over the issue. She had shared a letter with the signatures of her team members declaring that they do not believe the allegations of harassment brought forward by the victim based on their previous experience of working with Patnaik.
In response to the recent allegations against one of our team workers by an ex worker, please read the statement below- pic.twitter.com/4LVa5Hzoxk
— Divya Spandana/Ramya (@divyaspandana) July 3, 2018
The victim, in an interview to mynation.com, had stated that Divya Spandana’s inquiry over the issue was a sham and she had not even received any response from the AICC grievance redressal committee and Congress President Rahul Gandhi on her complaint filed. She had also asked that how can the inquiry be fair when two signatories from Divya’s letter were members of the very committee that is probing the incident.
A week prior to the complaint against Patnaik, NSUI President Fairaoz Shah was also accused of sexual harassment and demanding sexual favours in exchange for desired political posts.