The Delhi Police on Monday arrested Chirag Patnaik, a manager of the Congress party’s social media and digital communications cell, after a former colleague accused him of sexually harassing her. Patnaik was later released on bail, ANI reported.
Deputy Commissioner of Police (New Delhi) Madhur Verma confirmed Patnaik’s arrest, according to The Times of India. An unidentified senior police officer said that a First Information Report was filed at North Avenue police station against Patnaik on July 3.
The case was filed after Bharatiya Janata Party leader Meenakshi Lekhi attacked the Congress, demanding action against the accused. She had asked the Delhi Police “under whose pressure” it had not yet registered a first information report, even three weeks after the former colleague first made the complaint on June 11.
In her complaint to the police, the woman had said she worked as a social media manager and reported to Divya Spandana, the head of Congress’ digital media team, and coordinated with Patnaik. The complainant said on many occasions, Patnaik allegedly “violated her personal space”. She claimed that she had reported Patnaik’s behaviour and raised the matter with Spandana, who allegedly refused to listen to it.
“Frequent misbehaviour by Patnaik coupled with Divya Spandana’s arrogant attitude had rendered the working place intolerable,” the complainant said.
Earlier this month, Spandana had said that it was the first time she had heard of the sexual harassment allegations against Patnaik and then put up a statement signed by 39 Congress workers defending Patnaik. The statement said that the party had reached out to the complainant, but it had no reason to believe that Patnaik was guilty.