The lid is finally off – a section of officials in Doordarshan who fabricated a ‘Sexual Harassment’ matter against Dr. Mahesh Joshi, Addl DG last year to scuttle his chance of becoming Director General are finally accused of criminal indemnification by a Court in Karnataka. Taking cognizance of matter after series of hearings where the Senior Civil Judge & JMFC found ample reasons and evidences of ‘criminal conspiracy’ to defame Dr. Mahesh Joshi an eminent media personality of the region, the Court has issued summons for appearance of all accused.
Ms Prerna Sharma Production Assistant, the prime accused attempted to force the Addl DG to approve her documentary film ‘Kaash’ on the Muzzafarpur riots for national competition. The film was referred to a Committee of Experts who found it devoid of merits, technical excellence hence refused. Thereafter a peeved Ms. Prerna Sharma wrote a letter on January 23, 2015 complaining of her talent not being recognized by office. She repeated same in subsequent five more letters sent to office where she commented feeling harassed since her entry for competition was rejected. There was no mention of any ‘sexual harassment’ in any of her communications till then. Ms. Sharma complained the same to then DG Ms. Vijaylaxmi Chabaria who along with Ms. Deepa Chandra, Addl.DG investigated the matter. They both found charges emanated out of frustration and dejection and advised closure. Even while deposing before the ICC she accused Dr. Joshi of casting ‘lewd looks’ during the preview of film Kaash. She was not aware of the photographic evidence of sitting five rows behind the senior officer where no eye contact was possible at all. The ICC findings that were formed under Sexual Harassment Act 2013 as per Supreme Court guidelines dismissed the matter. This Committee comprising of senior women officers and outside experts unanimously concluded charges lacking conviction and evidence.
Ms. Prerna Sharma found the game sliding to other side approached Delhi Police to file an FIR against Dr. Joshi. She twisted her initial statement and transmuted it as sexual innuendo something that never existed and reported. The imputation was drafted so serious to malign the officer and one can now surmise that part of the conspiracy by hidden hands that were making the lady not miss any opportunity. Police was wise enough not to hurry in writing the FIR and started its investigations.
Dr. Joshi remained steadfast conforming to the findings of Committee refused going against the procedures made Ms Prerna Sharma reengineer the plot making the concocted accusations publicize widely. This was primarily to demean his status and field reputation. It was a strange case of gradual build up of sexual harassment which gave indications of continuous inputs from various minds who were all revising the script with speed at intervals. She was supported by some equally disgruntled elements who testified falsely against Dr. Joshi in all the internal inquiry committees.
But that did not diffuse Ms. Prerna Sharma who lost no opportunity to move every conceivable agency including the Delhi Women Commission while police was conducting its inquiry. She and her bunch of supporters took recourse to get false stories printed in national dailies including the prestigious The Telegraph and some Kannada papers. It is matter for another debate and serious concern that newspapers of such standing were willing partners in doing unverified and uninvestigated stories giving prominence to a fabricated plot denigrating a humble and honest citizen. There were reasons perhaps that were more impelling than their historical standing and credibility !
All this was perhaps done to influence the Delhi High Court where she filed Writ no. 767/2015 pleading directions to Delhi Police to book the officer. She meticulously carried out her campaign and series of Appeals sent right from the President of India to any other person who was important enough to get an honest man apprehended. The Lady moved with precision and dotted tenacity throwing ample reasons to believe collusion of other minds that is still under investigation. Delhi High Court found charges and chronology of concocted events ambiguous and dismissed the matter. But by then, Dr. Mahesh Joshi suffered irreparable humiliation and lost opportunity of lifetime to be the Director General, a job he was deemed fit.
It is one more such case where an ordinary complaint was gradually built as ‘Sexual Harassment’ matter to hound and humiliate a senior officer to extract favour, undue approvals and working on agenda damning the dignity of a renowned media person from the region.
The Senior Civil Judge, Karnataka under section 203 of Cr.P.C has found prima facie material to proceed against Ms. Prerna Sharma and other accused of offences punishable under Section 120(B), 500 R/w Sec. 34 of IPC, provisions that carry punishment by jail. The criminal conspiracy that section 120(B) entails is bound to unravel other plotters in the game once the case gets going. Some officials in Prasar Bharati confirm that Dr. Joshi might seek damages beyond a crore of Rupees since he was made to lose a lifetime reputation and opportunity to grow as Director General.
But for once Doordarshan gets jammed again – Saddled with poor leadership that has given rise to lawlessness and utter chaos in the organization, sources also confirm that there are strong reasons to believe role of senior management in impeding Dr. Joshi getting the coveted elevation. This now would be covered under criminal conspiracy when the hearing starts soon but one cannot help indict its internal vigilance section that too is behaving like a ‘Thana’ and harassing honest people.