By OUR STAFF REPORTER
DEHRADUN, 27 Jan: Senior Indian Forest Service (IFS) cadre officer Sushant Patnaik on late evening of Thursday was shunted out of his present posting as Member Secretary of Uttarakhand Pollution Control Board in view of a complaint filed by a female junior research fellow who has accused Patnaik of outraging her modesty.
It is learnt that a female research fellow had complained of “harassment” by the IFS officer. Taking a serious note of the complaint, Secretary, Forests RK Sudhanshu had issued orders transferring Patnaik out of his charge as Member Secretary of Uttarakhand PCB on the directions of Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami who is known to have adopted a strict policy of stringent action on complaints of sexual or physical harassment of women. As per the orders issued by Sudhanshu on the behalf of the state government, Patnaik has been attached with the State Forest headquarters till the inquiry against him is completed. An Inquiry Committee has also been set up to look into charges levelled by the research fellow against Patnaik.
Speaking informally with media persons, the Principal Secretar admitted that the charges levelled against Patnaik are of a serious nature and hence immediate action has been taken and inquiry has also been ordered.
Sources also confirmed the female research fellow who has levelled the charges against Patnaik is a close family member of an MLA from the state.
Meanwhile reacting to the charges levelled against him, Patnaik claimed that he is stunned by the charges that had been levelled by a research fellow against him. He added that he had joined his duty just a couple of days ago on returning from his home state Odisha where he had gone in view of his father’s death.
The research fellow, daughter of an influential politician, had gone to Patnaik to express condolences following the death of his father. The research fellow is working in the Board.
However, when contacted, Patnaik did not pick up his mobile phone. He also did not respond to the message sent through WhatsApp to seek his reaction on the matter. But it is understood that Patnaik has told Anup Malik, Principal Chief Conservator of Forests (HOFF) that he was in a state of shock and denied the allegations.
So far, no FIR has been registered in this regard.