Additional solicitor general Indira Jaising has written an open letter to former Justice AK Ganguly with leaked details of the testimony of the intern alleging Ganguly had sexually harassed her.
The letter was published by the Indian Express today and contains long passages from the intern's confidential testimony to an internal three-member judicial inquiry.
The article is entitled "When I tried to move away, he kissed my arm, repeated he loved me... Asked me to share room", with Jaising asking Ganguly to step down as chairman of the West Bengal Human Rights Commission (WBHRC). The affidavit’s main points were summarised in the Express with that Ganguly “offered her his bedroom to drink wine and relax”, “wanted her to share his room”, “consumed alcohol, insisted she do as well and persisted” and “put his hand on her back and moved forward to embrace her”.
The affidavit stated:
Soon afterwards, I left my meal, returned to the round table and pretended to continue the work, while I anxiously waited for the car. By now I was feeling threatened. At this point, the judge approached me and, standing next to me, he put his hand on my head, and said, 'You are very beautiful'. I immediately rose from my seat, but before I had a chance to respond to the statement, he caught hold of my arm, saying, 'You know that I'm attracted to you, don't you? You must be thinking, what, this old man is getting drunk and saying such things. But I really like you, I love you'. When I tried to move away, he kissed my arm and repeated that he loved me.
I pushed him away stating that I had to leave immediately. By now it was crystal clear to me that the preceding events were not innocuous in nature, and that he was making unwelcome sexual advances. I quickly picked up my computer and bag, and left the room to take the elevator down. The judge followed me into the elevator, repeatedly saying, 'Please don't go', 'Did I make you uncomfortable?', 'Please don't leave me, I need your help right now', and said that the AIFF report needed to be finished. I did not answer the judge anymore.
The next morning Ganguly allegedly tried to call her several times, which she ignored, after which he apologised via SMS the next day.
Released with consent
Jaising said later that she would like to state "very unambiguously that whatever I am doing, I am doing with [the intern’s] complete cooperation and keeping her in the loop and I would never ever make a document like this public unless I had her full support”, reported the PTI.
“I took the decision only after I realised that powerful sections of society were coming out in the public domain to support A.K. Ganguly, and that people were asking, ‘what did he do?’... Given that he was refusing to resign, I felt compelled to put the girl's affidavit in the public domain,” Jaising was reported by Firstpost as saying.
“What can I do? Who is listening to me?” Ganguly commented to the PTI. “[The testimony] is supposed to be confidential as it was given before a Supreme Court committee. How can it come out in the open?”
Law minister Kapil Sibal chimed in on Twitter for the Supreme Court to “deal with Justice Ganguly”, and later said: “We have faith that Supreme Court will take the strictest possible action for women's security whoever may be the person - be it the retired judge of Supreme Court or anybody else.”
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