Will resign if required: St Stephen's principal
Valson Thampu whose name has been dragged in a sexual harassment case said that he would resign if "he was a cause of embarrassment to the institution". Thampu has been under spotlight pressurizing the victim to withdraw the case. Teachers, women activists and students took to the streets asking for him to resign. Thampu alleged that certain elements in college had incited the complainant.
A PhD student of St Stephen's College filed a complaint with Delhi Police against a professor for sexuallly harassing her. According to her, Satish Kumar, a chemistry professor (who also functions as the bursar) molested her on 15 October 2013. He was accused of stalking her, passing snide comments and threatening to throw acid on her. She also accused him of blocking her stipend.
The complainant also included Principal Valson Thampu's name in the complaint for trying to 'protect' the professor when the matter was brought to his notice. The complainant's parents too have accused Thampu for referring the matter in December 2014 as a "purely academic problem". He is accused of threatening the girl to either address the matter as an 'academic problem' or lose her degree.
Thampu in his defence said that when the complaint had been brought to him, he had asked the complainant to change her guide, something that she had refused herself.
Satish Kumar was denied anticipatory bail by a Delhi trial court. He had said that the girls' accusations were 'concocted' and there was no eye witnesses to substantiate her claim. Kumar's counsel also told the court that his client "was 85 per cent physically disabled" who cannot walk without a stick and therefore could not have molested the researcher.
Sunil Mathews, the complainant's lawyer said that "this is the fourth such case in which Thampu is shielding the accused in a molestation case in his college".
The Delhi High Court deferred the arrest of the St Stephen's chemistry teacher till 17 July. The court postponed the matter issuing a notice to the city police asking them to file a report on the investigation in this particular case. Kumar moved to High Court after a trial court dismissed his bail plea on 23 June.
The progress in the molestation case by the internal complaints committee (ICC) of St Stephen's will be checked by the University Grants Commission under directions from the Ministry of Human Resource Development. The HRD Ministry has urged UGC to make sure the investigation is completed by college's ICC "impartially" and "expeditiously" and to report why no action had been taken so far.