NIFT joint director shifted after sexual harassment charges
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Several undergraduate and postgraduate students and some staffers at the National Institute of Fashion Technology's Bhopal centre have accused joint director Vasant Kothari of sexual harassment. The 36-year-old has since been transferred to NIFT's Jodhpur centre after an internal committee found that allegations that he engaged in lewd behavior and passed sexually suggestive comments were prima facie correct.
The students alleged that Kothari, who besides handling administrative affairs was also a lecturer, often called them to his chamber and then made indecent gestures and engaged in explicit talk. Almost 75 per cent of the 270 students of UG and PG courses at the centre are girls. So far, no FIR has been filed by the complainants or the institute.
Faculty member Sameer Sood, who headed the preliminary fact-finding committee, told The Indian Express that the complaints against Kothari were found to be "somewhat true", but refuted allegations that Kothari used to touch the students. Though the alleged harassment took place in September, Kothari was transferred only in November after victims approached the Madhya Pradesh State Commission for Women. Joint director Brijesh Devre, who was posted in Jodhpur, has replaced Kothari.
Commission chairperson Upma Rai said they were approached because the victims' complaints had remained unresolved. The body has also served a notice to Kothari, who claimed he has not received it.