Tata Motors Sends Corp Comm Head on Leave after Sexual Harassment Allegation

On Thursday, an Indian journalist posted against the Tata executive Suresh Rangarajan, which prompted the automaker to set up an investigation.

New Delhi: After Bollywood and media, the #MeToo movement has hit the corporate world. Automaker Tata Motors on Friday sent a senior executive on leave after allegations of sexual harassment surfaced against him on Twitter.

Tata Motors, part of the conglomerate Tata Group, later said in a Twitter post that it has asked Suresh Rangarajan “to proceed on leave in order to allow for an objective enquiry to be completed as swiftly as possible”.

On Thursday, an Indian journalist posted screenshots on her Twitter account of allegations against the Tata executive, leading to the move by the automaker.

Tata Motors has always “striven to ensure a respectful and safe workplace for everyone,” the Mumbai-based company’s human resources department said in a Twitter post.

“Any allegations are investigated and appropriate action is taken immediately.”

The matter is being probed by an internal panel set up as per law, according to the post.

Famous personalities from the Bollywood like Nana Patekar, Alok Nath and Sajid Khan have been named and shamed by women as part of the campaign.

Women have also called out prominent media figures like former editor MJ Akbar, who is currently a minister in the Modi cabinet, former DNA editor-in-chief Gautam Adhikari and celebrity consultant Suhel Seth.

While Prime Minister Narendra Modi has not said anything on allegations of sexual harassment against his minister, Maneka Gandhi, minister for women and chid development, said on Friday that the government will form a committee of judges to advise it on cases of sexual assault and harassment widely publicised as part of the #MeToo movement that has swept India.

“I believe in the pain and trauma behind every single complaint. Cases of sexual harassment at work must be dealt with a policy of zero tolerance,” Gandhi said in a statement.

“We have formed a group of judges that will examine some of the cases in a free and independent style and advise them and us where to go from here,” she said.

Smriti Irani and Nirmala Sitharaman, the two other ministers in the Modi cabinet, have avoided publicly commenting on allegations of sexual harassment against Akbar but have praised the survivors for speaking out.

Gandhi was the first BJP leader to say that there should be an investigation. 

“There should be an investigation. Men in position of power often do this. This applies to media, politics and seniors working in companies. Now that women have started speaking out, we should take it seriously,” Gandhi told news channel India Today when asked about allegations surfacing against a “big” politician on Tuesday.