Chief Administrative Officer
The Press Trust of India Limited
4, Parliament Street
New Delhi 110 001
February 1, 2016
Dear Ms. Alva,
Thank you for your response dated January 12 to our letter to Mr Razdan, referring to the allegations of sexual harassment levelled against Rupesh Samant, Senior Principal Correspondent, PTI based in Goa. We understand that on October 5, 2015, a show-cause notice was issued by PTI to him in connection with the FIRs filed against him on allegations of sexual harassment at the workplace, as also professional misdemeanours in the shape of parallel employment with Herald Cable News (HCN). Has there been a domestic inquiry on these charges, and what is the current employment status of Rupesh Samant vis a vis PTI? This seems to be a crucial aspect of the sordid matter.
We understand that most victims who were subjected to the sexual harassment meted out by Rupesh Samant at their workplace were not employed by PTI, but Rupesh Samant had used his clout and position at PTI to exploit the victims by promising jobs and other professional favours.
Rupesh Samant continues to file stories as a contributor and reportedly continues to be involved with the PTI Employees Union. We understand he is currently in the process of helping the union to organise a major event.
In view of the serious nature of the complaints against him we, the members of the Network of Women in Media in India (NWMI), request you to:
(i) Issue a statement distancing PTI from Rupesh Samant. This will serve to publicly demonstrate the organisation’s commitment to justice and fair play as a responsible media organisation representing the fourth estate in the world’s largest democracy.
(ii) Conduct an inquiry into the many allegations of sexual harassment against your employee, Rupesh Samant. Apart from the harassment outlined in the four FIRs, a number of other women – both journalists and non-journalists – have revealed experiences over the years wherein he took or attempted to take advantage of them using his position and influence in the media, chiefly as a senior member ofthe PTI bureau. Whether or not the complainants are PTI employees, as his employer, it is incumbent upon the PTI to conduct an internal inquiry as mandated by the Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013. As you are no doubt aware, the Act provides for various civil remedies – from penalties imposed on the guilty to reparation for the victims. This process can go alongside the criminal proceedings, as the two tracks provide for different redressal mechanisms.
We hope that the PTI will take a serious view of the matter and act at the earliest.
Ammu Joseph, Geeta Seshu, Laxmi Murthy and Rina Mukherji
On Behalf of the Working Council, Network of Women in Media, India