Suspended Tamil Nadu Special DGP sentenced to three years for sexual harassment

Villupuram Chief Judicial Magistrate sentenced Rajesh Das for sexually harassing a woman IPS officer while on duty in 2021.

Published : Jun 16, 2023 19:29 IST - 2 MINS READ

Special Director General of Police Rajesh Das (now suspended) at the Chief Judicial Magistrate Court in Villupuram on 9 August 2021 

Special Director General of Police Rajesh Das (now suspended) at the Chief Judicial Magistrate Court in Villupuram on 9 August 2021  | Photo Credit: KUMAR SS

The Chief Judicial Magistrate court in Villupuram, Tamil Nadu, sentenced Rajesh Das, the suspended Tamil Nadu Special DGP of Law and Order and Accused No 1 in a sexual harassment case, to three years of rigorous imprisonment on June 16. The case involved the senior police officer sexually abusing a woman IPS officer who was a SP and on duty in Karur, Tamil Nadu, in 2021.

Chief Judicial Magistrate M Pushparani found the suspended DGP guilty of charges filed under Sections 354 A (2) of the Indian Penal Code and Sec 4 of the Tamil Nadu Prevention of Women Harassment Act. Additionally, the CJM imposed a fine of Rs 20,500 on him. In case of default, an additional sentence of imprisonment ranging from six months was ordered. D Kannan, the then Chingleput SP accused of obstructing the woman IPS officer from filing a complaint against Das, was fined Rs 500.

In her 100-page verdict, the magistrate stated that she imposed the maximum punishment because the accused was “one of the most senior officers in the State.” She further noted that “considering the circumstances of the case, the court came to the conclusion that the charges against Accused No 1 were proved beyond reasonable doubt.” She granted him bail for 30 days to file an appeal. The prosecution recorded statements from 68 individuals, including police personnel.

The incident occurred on February 21, 2021, when the senior officer was overseeing the security of the then Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami’s tour in Trichy and Karur districts. The woman officer was also on duty. After completing the bandobust works, he offered her a ride in his official car back to Chennai. During the journey, he allegedly misbehaved with her. To escape the abuse, the woman IPS officer had to get out of the car on the highway with the assistance of another senior colleague.

The incident was reported in writing to DGP J.K. Tripathy the following day. A six-member committee was formed to investigate the allegations, which found them to be true. The officer was subsequently suspended, and legal procedures were initiated. Later, the case was transferred to the CBCID, which filed a First Information Report (FIR) against the Special DGP and the Superintendent of Police, Chengalpet, under various sections of the Indian Penal Code and the Tamil Nadu Prohibition of Harassment of Women Act, 1998.

In 2021, the Madras High Court took suo moto action on the incident and strongly condemned it. However, Das approached the Supreme Court, requesting the trial to be relocated outside of Tamil Nadu. The Supreme Court, however, directed the trial court in Villupuram to independently handle the case based on its merits.

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