St. Stephen's College has filed a police case against Devansh Mehta, a philosophy student who had taken principal Valson Thampu to court after he had suspended him for publishing an e-zine without his clearance, accusing him of vandalism and trespass in a chemistry lab in the college, the India Today reported.
The report stated that Mehta, alongwith the woman researcher who had accused a professor in the college of molestation, allegedly barged into the chemistry lab and damaged the equipment there.
The Delhi High Court on April 17, 2015 stayed the order of Thampu suspending Mehta, asking whether anyone can be suspended for speaking to the media.
The Principal needs to go-Ashish Joshi,Alumnus on St Stephens denying stipend&lab access to sexual harassment victim pic.twitter.com/kRn5KueBZM— ANI (@ANI_news) July 17, 2015
The court also stayed the findings of a one-man inquiry committee, appointed by Thampu, which had on April 9 held the third-year student guilty of violating disciplinary norms of the college. It directed the college not to give an award, the list of which included Mehta but dropped later due to the controversy, to anyone till the next date of hearing.
Mehta, the editor and co-founder of 'St Stephen's Weekly' e-zine that was banned by the college, was suspended from college till April 23 following the report of the inquiry committee of Prof Sanjay Rao Ayde.
PTI reported that the woman research scholar said she was denied access to the laboratory, even as the college principal termed it "as a constructive controversy" and "vandalism attempt".
She also alleged that she was denied payment of her stipend and when she forcefully tried to enter the laboratory where she was conducting her research, she was locked by an attendant following which she had to call the police.
The college authority meanwhile had approached the police alleging vandalism and attempts to trespass the campus by students accompanying her.
"There has been a regrettable act of vandalism and trespass in the college premises. The Delhi police is currently investigating the matter," College spokesperson Karen Gabriel said. While police officials confirmed of having received the call and visiting the campus but denied that the laboratory was found locked.
"Today when I went to the college to inquire about the release of my stipend, I was told by the concerned official in the college office that since Satish Kumar (her PhD supervisor) has not given his approval, the stipend could not be released," the woman complainant alleged.
"Further, when I tried to enter the laboratory the attendant refused to let me in after checking with Kumar over phone."
"I somehow forcefully entered but the attendant locked me from outside following which I called the police," she added.
Responding to the allegations, Thampu told PTI, "This is another constructed controversy. I had personally handed over the stipend cheque to her in December, the cheque in question today is for the next six months, which has not been issued as the documents need her PhD guide's signature and he is not available as I had "advised" him not to visit the college".
"The allegations that she was denied access to the laboratory are baseless..such are attempts by vested interests and then they would say college is always embroiled in controversies," Thampu said.
The woman had approached the police last month alleging that she was molested by Satish Kumar, an assistant professor in college's Chemistry Department.
She had also accused Thampu of "shielding" the teacher when the matter was reported to him. She had also made public a set of recordings which she claimed to have made during her meetings with the principal over the issue.
Thampu, who had offered to resign if charges were proved against him, had also claimed that he was being "chased like an animal". He vented out his anger about the "constructed drama" on his Facebook page, only to remove it later.
"The very first thing which smells of controversy is why did Devansh Mehta go with the girl in the first place? What he has to do with the issue? There are vested interests who are using the victim for character assassination of the college and are now even Mehta is at their hands," Thampu had said in the post.
(With additional inputs from PTI)