On Wednesday, after more than a fortnight of waiting and watching – a fortnight since the first woman spoke up anonymously against TVF CEO Arunabh Kumar, accusing him of sexual harassment – an FIR was filed against him.
One of the women who The Quint had personally spoken to, two days before the complaint was lodged, had indicated that she would approach the police soon – and eventually did. Kumar has been booked under Sections 354A (causing sexual harassment), and 509 (insulting the modesty of a woman by indecent words, gestures or acts) of the Indian Penal Code.
Yes, the first step has being taken. But Kumar is hardly the first high-profile offender to be booked; the TVF founder, in fact, belongs to a nefarious list of sexual harassment offenders whose offences – in juxtaposition to their erstwhile public standing and popularity – only make them all the more shocking.
Where do the likes of Pachauri, Tejpal and Farooqui stand today? Here’s taking a look back:
The Case: In February 2015, a 29-year-old woman, who worked as a research analyst at The Energy and Research Institute (TERI), lodged a complaint against TERI chief RK Pachauri for sexually harassing her. The FIR listed various offences against the environmentalist, such as of him sending “obscene” WhatsApp messages, emails and making unwanted physical advances. Pachauri was booked under sections 354A (advances involving unwelcome and explicit sexual overtures), 354B (using criminal force against a woman), 354D (stalking), 509 (word, gesture or act intended to insult the modesty of a woman) and 341 (wrongful restraint).
The Status: TERI, in February 2016, appointed Pachauri executive vice-chairman despite the allegations against him. However, following severe criticism, Pachauri went on indefinite leave from the organisation; and soon after, TERI terminated its three-year contract with him.
Later in the same month, another woman – a former employee at TERI – alleged that she had been sexually harassed when she worked with him 10 years ago. A third woman came forward in March 2016, accusing him of harassment.
Most recently, in March 2017, Delhi Police filed a Forensic Science Laboratory report in the case against him. The report stated that contrary to Pachauri’s insistence, no malware had tampered with the “obscene” text messages and emails that he had allegedly sent his former colleague.
The Case: Tarun Tejpal, editor-in-chief of Tehelka magazine, was accused of raping a young female colleague in November 2013, in an elevator in a Goa hotel. The complainant alleged that she was sexually assaulted again the following day. The incident happened during the magazine’s annual confab Think Fest – following which, a case was filed against him of rape, sexual harassment and taking advantage of his official position. Tejpal spent 6 months in jail, before being granted anticipatory bail to attend the cremation of his mother. He has been out on bail since.
The Status: Two years on, he is facing trial in a Goa court and is currently out on bail.
The Case: Mahmood Farooqui, producer and co-director of the Bollywood film Peepli Live, was arrested in June 2015 after a 35-year-old American researcher from Columbia University accused him of sexual assault in March 2015. The complainant claimed that he had forced her to have oral sex with him in his residence at Delhi’s Sukhdev Vihar. He was booked under Section 375 of the IPC.
Vrinda Grover, Advocate, Counsel for the VictimShe was reminded of the documentary of the Nirbhaya case, where the rapist had said that if the victim had not struggled, she would have survived. The accused (Farooqui) applied force and pushed her down. She then froze. She knew if she resisted the rape upon her, the consequence would be worse.
The Status: In August last year, a Delhi court sentenced the filmmaker to 7 years’ imprisonment. The court also imposed a fine of Rs 50,000, failing to pay which would add another three months to his sentence.
Asok Kumar Ganguly
The Case: A woman who was interning with former Supreme Court judge Asok Kumar Ganguly in December 2012, accused him of sexually harassing her in a hotel room in Delhi. However, she made the allegations a year later in December 2013 through a blog on a legal portal. Justice (retd) Ganguly was indicted by a three-member apex court committee for “unwelcome sexual behaviour” – even though he repeatedly denied the charges. Ganguly was famous for having sat on notable judgements, such as the 2G Spectrum scam, and the Emergency in 1975.
The Status: Ganguly resigned from the West Bengal Human Rights Commission in January 2014.
However, Delhi Police suspended the probe into the harassment complaint as they said that the woman “had not joined the inquiry” and was no longer cooperating with the investigation. Police added that there wasn’t enough material to file an FIR against the retired judge under Section 154 of the Code of Criminal Procedure.
Subsequently, the MHA (Ministry of Home Affairs) in July 2014 declared that there was no case against him.