A Venezuelan architecture student has alleged sexual harassment by her bosses during her internship with a real estate firm, which had projects in Pune and Mumbai. The intern has filed an ethics case against AIESEC, Pune for ‘negligence’ in dealing with her complaint. She came to India through the internship program offered by a global network of students, AIESEC.
The intern has approached AIESEC’s Internal Control Board for the matter. The student revealed that she was sexually harassed by Xrbia Infrastructure Private Limited’s chairman Rahul Nahar and other senior officials of the company, against whom she had earlier complained to AISEC, Pune.
Adding to the list, a Moroccan intern was also harassed, the complaint dated November 13 said.
The intern was in India from September 30, for a six-month internship with Xrbia under AIESEC’s Global Talent Programme.
The Xrbia officials have denied the accusations made against her and mentioned them as ‘motivated’.
PTI in its report mentioned that Karn VIjra of AIESEC, Pune asserted that the matter was already taken care of and they had also talked with the concerned intern. He refused to say more to the matter. Rahul Nahar quoted, “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 to PTI.
"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 the accused.
The Xrbia chairman, in turn, alleged that specific parts from the two-hour recording were highlighted to benefit the complainant’s accusations. "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.
The chairman responded that the complainants had ulterior motives.
"She 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.
Nadar added that "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."
While interacting with PTI, Nadar affirmed that they have not yet decided upon contemplating action against the complainant. “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," added the Xrbia chairman.
(With inputs from PTI)