Former Taj Hotels Employee Says Will Give Detailed Account of CEO’s Sexual Harassment to NCW

Bengaluru: Former Tata Group Executive Anjuli Pandit on Sunday said she plans to send to the National Commission for Women Chairperson Rekha Sharma, a detailed account of the ‘sexual harassment’ she faced at the hands of a CEO of a group firm.

“Yes, I am taking some time to prepare my brief for Ms Rekha Sharma because I want it to be comprehensive,” Pandit told PTI in an email interaction from London.

“I plan to send her a detailed account of everything I have experienced and learned from the past three years since I reported Rakesh Sarnas behaviour to the then-Chairman of Tata Sons,” she added.

Pandit was responding to a query on whether she planned to approach the NCW as desired by Sharma to help her get a copy of Tata Sons probe report to find out the truth in the sexual harassment case.

Earlier this month, Sharma had reportedly urged Pandit to approach the NCW to help her get the copy by directing the firm.

She had also termed the firm’s refusal to hand over Pandit the copy as ‘totally illegal’.

Pandit said she was doing it in the belief that the ‘flawed process’ she was subjected to was indicative of some of the common weaknesses across India Inc when it came to handling such cases.

“This is because I believe that the flawed process I was subjected to is not unique to Tata’s internal processes, but rather is indicative of some of the common weaknesses across India Inc.

When it comes to handling sexual harassment cases, especially those related to offenders who are considered business critical to the organisation,” she said.

Pandit also said Sharma and NCW are able to provide guidance to companies and make recommendations to improve access that women have to Sexual Harassment Law if they feel the need to take the complaint outside of the company’s internal process and to national or local court level.

Writing for a leading English daily earlier this month, Pandit, a former executive assistant to ex-MD and CEO of Taj Hotels, Rakesh Sarna, had claimed she had reached out to Taj board members, Tata Group Executive Council members, the chairman and the senior-most HR official with her complaint.

“The only resolution they could find was to ask me to resign from the Taj immediately,” she had written, adding she “lost trust in Taj’s process” as the company’s Internal Complaint Committee comprised “Sarna, four people within two reporting lines of him and an external member from one of Tata’s closest law firms.”

Responding to queries on the issue, a Tata Group spokesperson had said on November 2 that Pandit’s case was investigated by an appropriate independent committee.

“The findings were informed to Pandit by a former director of IHCL. We hear her and others, and we recognise the opportunity to raise the bar,” the spokesperson had said.

Stating that ‘each matter is investigated’ under the Tata Code of Conduct, the spokesperson had said: “We have always taken decisive action on evidence of inappropriate conduct in the organisation.”

A spokesperson of IHCL, that owns the Taj Hotels, had said “the matter referred to in your mail was investigated and dealt with by an appropriate independent committee constituted for this purpose.

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