19 August : Ms. Nisha Bhatia, Director in Cabinet Secretariat, lodged a complaint last year alleging sexual harassment by her Joint Secretary.
Ø The complaint was enquired into by the Complaint committee constituted as per the guidelines laid down by the Supreme Court in this regard. An external lady officer was also co-opted as per these guidelines. The officer, however, withdrew her complaint.
Ø The officer was given several opportunities to present her case, but she refused to cooperate with the committee. Notwithstanding, the committee completed the inquiry on May 19, 2008 and found that her allegations could not be substantiated. Moreover, the committee found that her behavior on a number of occasions, duly documented by the committee, appear to indicate a ‘disturbed state of mind’ and recommended medical counseling.
Ø The findings were communicated to Competent Authority in the Government.
Ø Meanwhile, a number of complaints have been received from different officers of the organization against Ms. Bhatia. These range from alleged unauthorized communication and contact with media, insubordination, misbehavior, abuse of authority and sending of objectionable and offensive SMSs to senior officials of the government.
Ø Based on examination of reports of her ‘erratic’ behaviour, a senior medical officer of the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) opined ‘presence of a Psychiatric illness in her and advised Psychiatric opinion to assess her condition’.
Ø Ms. Bhatia was advised to go for medical counseling, which she refused.
Ø In view of these complaints of misconduct, a preliminary enquiry was ordered on August 8, 2008. When the officer was informed about initiation of the enquiry today, the 19th of August, she indicated that she would not appear in any proceedings, and warned that the department would face the consequences.
Ø It is subsequently learnt that she went to the PMO and attempted to commit suicide. She was immediately shifted to hospital for medical care and her family was informed about the incident.