Congress IT cell member Chirag Patnaik held for ‘sexual harassment’, gets bail

A member of the Congress IT cell, Chirag Patnaik, was arrested in connection with the charges of sexual harassment levelled by a former colleague, police said on Tuesday. He was released on bail soon after.

Earlier this month, a former member of the Congress IT cell had accused  Chirag Patnaik of sexually harassing her.

On July 3, the Delhi Police had filed an FIR against Patnaik at the North Avenue police station in the alleged molestation case. Patnaik was booked under Sections 354A and 509 of the Indian Penal Code.

“As stated in the complaint, Mr. Chirag Patnaik abused his official position to engage in perverted acts which can be mildly termed as Sexual Harassment. The Applicant conveyed her disapproval both verbally and by action, but Mr. Chirag Patnaik did not relent and continued with acts of harassment,” an entry in the Delhi police FIR said, according to an NDTV report.

The former employee of the Congress social media team, who accused Chirag Patnaik of molestation, had recently claimed that the social media cell (of Congress) indulged in frequent violation of principles that the party (INC) stands for.

Patnaik is a social media Manager on the Congress social media team, while the complainant no longer works there.

After the incident came to light, congress social media head Divya Spandana had issued a statement on Twitter with signatures of Patnaik’s team members vouching for his “good character”. Spandana said she was unaware of the incident until she was approached by a reporter and that she had reached out to the complainant.

“The complaints committee does not have any written/verbal/official/unofficial complain from the ex-worker, neither do we have access to the complainant…

“The team has also come out in support of the current worker (accused) based on the interactions and experience of working with him. The teams has also recalled some of their conversations with the ex-worker (complainant) and has no reason to believe that the current worker could have misbehaved with the ex-worker,” read her statement on Twitter.

The victim, who held Congress social media cell head Divya Spandana responsible for indulging in “targeted bullying”, had said in her statement: “I stand by my complaint and I am determined to fight for justice. I shall not relent until Justice is done.”

The complainant has alleged that Patnaik “violated her personal space” on many occasions. She claimed that she had reported Patnaik’s behaviour and raised the matter with Spandana who allegedly refused to pay heed.

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