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Global Publisher India MD, Singapore & US executives booked for harassment

The Delhi Police has booked two top employees of US publisher John Wiley & Sons, Inc. and the managing director of its Indian unit on charges of sexual harassment, using words/gestures to outrage the modesty of a woman and stalking, acting on a complaint by the former head of the company’s local human resources department.

Wiley India MD Vikas Gupta, along with Archana Singh, the US-based chief human resources officer, and Thomas Irawan, HR vice president based in Singapore, were booked under Sections 354 (A), 354 (D) and 509 of the IPC on August 21. The complainant also recorded a statement before a local magistrate on September 21 under Section 164 of the CrPC.

The 44-year-old single mother claimed she has audio recordings of Gupta passing lewd remarks and seeking sexual favours and an illicit relationship. She alleged that Gupta touched her inappropriately several times even though she had objected to it and that instead of than taking action against him, she was victimised and forced to resign.

Gupta, through his lawyer, told ET he was unaware of the police complaint and would fully cooperate in an investigation as and when required. He said all allegations against him were found by an internal committee to be “false and fabricated.” He alleged the complainant had started a “malicious campaign” against him to “piggyback on the #Metoo campaign” as part of her “harassment strategy.”

The complainant alleged that Gupta started subjecting her to harassment after her mother’s heart surgery in May 2011. The entire environment had become “terrorising” and there was no controlling authority over him, she said, listing specific instances of alleged sexual harassment.

 In February 2012, Gupta allegedly gave her a Valentine card that read, “Be my Valentine, my love and only love could only be you.” When she reported the matter to her boss Irawan in June 2012, he advised her to seek a transfer to Mumbai for some time to “allow things to settle.” However, the demands for sexual favours continued, with Gupta speaking to her on the phone for more than two hours daily. Against her request for a transfer to Mumbai for three years, the complainant was asked to shift back to New Delhi within 9 months.

When the complainant raised the issue again with Irawan, he allegedly did not act. She then escalated the matter and an internal complaints committee was constituted in July 2016.

However, the committee rejected her allegations. The complainant then moved an industrial tribunal.

Source: ET