In a shocking incident, one of India's top researchers in the field of immunology was terminated on January 17 from Translation Health Science and Technology Institute (THSTI), Faridabad for allegedly sexually harassing a female colleague.
In a shocking incident, one of India’s top researchers in the field of immunology was terminated on January 17 from Translation Health Science and Technology Institute (THSTI), Faridabad for allegedly sexually harassing a female colleague. Kanury VS Rao served as the National Chair at THSTI, an autonomous institute which falls under Department of Biotechnology, Ministry of Science and Technology. The Executive director of THSTI, Gangandeep Kang confirmed the termination of Rao. The accused is a member of three of India’s leading science academies and the winner of Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar Award (1997) and National Bioscience Award (1999-2000).
THSTI had formed a seven-member ‘internal complaint committee’ to investigate the matter, as per an Indian Express report. On November 2017, Rao had filed a petition in the Delhi High Court in which he said: “The committee was constituted …in violation of the Section 4 of The Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal), Act, 2013. As per the act there must be one member in the committee who belongs to the non-government organisation or associations committed to the cause of women or a person familiar with the issues relating to sexual harassment. In the present committee there was no representative from any non government organisation. Hence, the committee itself is questionable. Therefore the enquiry report itself is nullity and void.”
The petition was filed in response to the charges that were put on him. “The acts of Dr. Kanury V. S. Rao was highly objectionable and inappropriate,” stated the charges. The charges said, “During the course of his employment did not observe the Government policies regarding prevention of crimes against women, thereby violating the provisions of Rule 3 (B) (ii) of the Central Civil Services (Conduct) Rules, 1964,” according to the Indian Express report.
Rao claimed innocence while speaking to Indian Express and said he was determined to prove his innocence, while terming the charges against him as “completely fabricated”.