Jharkhand IAS Officer Arrested for Sexually Harassing IIT Student

An IAS officer was on Tuesday arrested in Jharkhand’s Khunti district on the charge of sexually harassing a trainee IIT student during a dinner party last week, police said.

A local court remanded the officer, Sub-Divisional Magistrate (SDM) of Khunti Syed Riaz Ahmed, to judicial custody for 14 days. A case has initially been filed against the IAS officer of the 2019 batch under IPC sections 354A (sexual harassment) and 509 (word, gesture or act intended to insult the modesty of a woman) following a complaint lodged by the woman, Superintendent of Police Aman Kumar told PTI.

The SDM was taken into custody on Monday night after the case was lodged at the women’s police station. He was arrested during the day after another charge under IPC Section 354 (assaulting or using criminal force on a woman with intent to outrage her modesty) was added. It is a non-bailable offence.

Eight engineering students of an IIT, including the woman, came to Khunti from outside the state for training, Kumar said. They attended a dinner hosted at the Deputy Development Commissioner’s residence on Saturday. At the party, liquor was served to the guests, including the students, he said.

When the SDM found her alone, he allegedly sexually harassed her there, she told the police in a statement. The police, prima facie, found the allegation to be true after Ahmed and some guests who attended the party were questioned, the SP said.

An investigation is underway. Meanwhile expressing anguish over the incident, the Bhartiya Janata Party took to streets against Khunti’s now arrested SDM Ahmed and demanded his immediate sacking saying he has earned a bad name for Jharkhand. “This is shameful, disgusting and unthinkable …We demand strictest possible action against the official so that no other officer dares to stoop to such level, ” BJP state president and MP Deepak Prakash told PTI.

He said: “This conduct of an administrative officer is unpardonable and a blot on Jharkhand and amounts to insult of women. The state’s image has been tarnished.” BJP workers, led by state president of BJP Mahila Morcha Aarti Kujur reached Khunti and staged demonstrations at Netaji Chowk burning an effigy of the official.

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