Sexually harassing colleagues, district leprosy officer arrested

12:47 AM, Sunday, November 28th, 2021

Dr RathnakarMangaluru : The Mangaluru police have arrested district leprosy officer Dr Ratnakar on charges of sexual harassment at workplace. Confirming the arrest, City police commissioner N Shashi Kumar said that the accused was produced before a court that granted him two days police custody.

Meanwhile, the police recorded the statements of four people, including a member of the internal complaints committee, and three survivors. Preliminary investigation revealed that the accused had allegedly taken victims to Kundapur, Murudeshwar, Madikeri. Piriyapatna, and is said to have committed a similar offence, like the videos leaked.

Pictures and videos of indecent behaviour by a government doctor had gone viral on the internet on Friday. Based on a complaint filed by a representative of a women’s organisation, a case was registered at the women’s police station against Dr Ratnakar, who was suspended recently, pending inquiry.

Earlier during the day, Shashi Kumar said that the victims were not ready to come forward and lodge the complaint. Many of them are working on contract, and they claimed that the doctor was powerful. However, they said that they are willing to give their statements before the magistrate, if a case is filed.

A few months ago, following an anonymous letter to the National Commission for Women (NCW), regarding indecent behaviour and harassment by Dr Ratnakar, the city police had conducted an investigation. As none of the survivors had come forward to file a complaint, the police did not have any evidence to take the case forward against Dr Ratnakar.

However, the police in its reply to the NCW, had clearly stated that the preliminary investigation had revealed indecent behaviour and harassment by the said officer. If the doctor is transferred from the district, a few of the victims may take courage to come forward to file a complaint, said sources.

Based on the video and photos that were circulated, it looks like Dr Rathnakar had misbehaved with at least eight women employees. Notices will be served to the survivors to appear before the investigation officer, and their statements will be recorded, the police said.

Meanwhile, DHO Dr Kishore Kumar M has approached the police seeking protection for women employees, after the sexual harassment at workplace incident came to light on Friday. There is a possibility of the victims facing threats.

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