Art

Harassment Complaint Filed Against Ministry of Culture Additional Secretary

Lalit Kala woman staffer has alleged that the police was initially reluctant to investigate the case

A view of the Lalit Kala Gallery. Credit: Wikimedia Commons

A view of the Lalit Kala Gallery. Credit: Wikimedia Commons

New Delhi: A senior woman research officer at the Lalit Kala Akademi has filed a police complaint against K.K. Mittal, additional secretary at the ministry of culture, currently with additional charge of the National Academy of Fine Arts.

In her complaint made at the Tilak Marg Police Station on May 4, the officer said Mittal called her to his office earlier in the day and enquired about a file related to the funding of a Madhya Pradesh-based government art college and began abusing her without even listening to her.

“He (Mittal) used filthy language and threatened me [with] serious consequences if I refused to clear the file as per his instructions. He also said he will suspend me if I didn’t release funds,” the complaint alleged, as per reports in the media.

Jatin Narwal, DCP, New Delhi District, confirmed receiving the complaint but refused to comment on the status of the case. “I don’t want to comment on it, would say that the matter is under investigation,” he told The Wire.

Speaking to the media, the complainant, however, alleged that the police was initially reluctant to investigate the case even after the complaint of harassment at the workplace was lodged a week ago. Narwal refused to comment on this charge.

Mittal has termed the allegations “false” and “fabricated”. In a press statement, the senior Indian Administrative Service officer named the complainant and said, “Her intentional misleading and manipulative attitude and harassing of the government colleges compelled me to caution her on 4 May, 2016, in the presence of another officer of Lalit Kala Akademi, R.K. Mohanti, that she should be careful and vigilant while dealing such sensitive issues and files.”

The statement said, “On 4 May, 2016, I reported these misleading and manipulative tactics to the secretary, ministry of culture. As some serious cases are already going on in the Lalit Kala Akademi, perhaps she felt that a case may also be started against her. To protect herself from the disciplinary action, she filed this false and fabricated complaint. I have already given all the details of the case to the secretary and requested him for constitution of a fact-finding committee.” He also accused the complainant of “intentionally showing” wrong figures of payment in files related to government art colleges.

Mittal has been officiating as the administrator of Lalit Kala Akademi since April last year after the government took control of its day-to-day management “to bring transparency” in the academy.

The Wire was unable to reach the complainant at the time of publishing this article for her response to Mittal’s rejoinder.