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'MeToo': Venezuelan intern alleges harassment; company refutes charge


Devdiscourse News Desk Pune/Mumbai
Updated: 30-11-2018 16:13 IST
'MeToo': Venezuelan intern alleges harassment; company refutes charge

(Image Credit: Twitter)

A Venezuelan architecture student has alleged sexual harassment by her bosses during her internship with a real estate firm, having projects in Pune and Mumbai.

Belkis Campos (23), who came to India for an internship through AIESEC International, a global network of students, has approached its Internal Control Board, seeking an ethics case against AIESEC, Pune for "negligence" in dealing with her complaint.

She said she had complained to AIESEC, Pune about being subjected to sexual harassment by Xrbia Infrastructure Private Limited chairman Rahul Nahar, the company's sales director Pritam Mutha, and vice president (land) Akesh Bohra.

A Moroccan intern was also harassed, the complaint dated November 13 said.

Campos came to India on September 30 for a six-month internship with Xrbia under AIESECs Global Talent Programme.

However, Xrbia officials named by her have rebuffed the allegations, saying they were "motivated".

When contacted, Karn Vijra of AIESEC, Pune said "all of this" has already been taken care of, adding they (AISEC, Pune) have already spoken to the intern about the issue.

Vijra declined to elaborate.

In his response, Rahul Nahar told PTI: "Where is the harassment part included in this. At the most, it can be termed as a verbal abuse. There is also no allegation about harassment or anything in the conversation that can be termed as crossing the line."

"I don't know how they are reporting verbal abuse. A gossip that is happening on a dinner table... if you are reporting that and recording what they are saying, it is verbal and nothing is connected to harassment," he said.

"In fact in the recording, you may hear that I am telling her that if somebody does anything wrong I will protect you and not allow anybody to do something wrong and where is harassment in this," added Nahar.

The Xrbia chairman further alleged that some portions of the two-hour recording were being highlighted by the complainant for her benefit.

"In the two-hour conversation, why is a certain portion of it picked and chosen for their benefit. If they had these issues they should have gone to the competent authority and not to the press. This shows their motive of harming our reputation. I have read section 354 and nothing that has been complained fits in the law of harassment," he said.

Nahar alleged that the complainants had ulterior motives.

"She (Campos) was just an intern who worked with us for 2-3 months while the other one was there only for 4 days. They resigned from the organisation 2 months back and while resigning they also gave an undertaking to the third party AIESEC that they have no complaints or no dues with Xrbia and also mentioned that the job was satisfactory. So we can now understand the motive," he said.

"Also, if they were unhappy with our style of working and if they had issues with it they should have gone to the competent authorities. But there is no complaint registered against us, no FIR," Nahar added.

Asked if the firm was contemplating action against the complainants, Nahar said, "We have not decided yet. We saw the news just now. In fact, our legal team is working on it and will see what is to be done because we are also shocked by seeing this."

(With inputs from agencies.)

COUNTRY : India