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Professor held for writing obscene letters to women colleagues

PTI 14 Aug 2014, 20:35:08 PM IST
Ahmedabad: A 56-year-old professor from Gujarat University was today arrested on charges of sexually harassing three women colleagues after he allegedly wrote obscene letters to them, police said.

Associate Professor Dr Sarman Zala, who heads the Political Science department of GU was accused of writing numerous obscene letters to three women professors working in different departments of Social Science Bhavan in GU.  To avoid arrest, Zala and his wife Bhavna, who allegedly threatened the women professors, had filed for anticipatory bail on August 6.

However, the sessions court rejected their bail yesterday following which Zala today surrendered before the police at Mithakhali-based women police station here.  “We arrested Zala after he surrendered at our police station. We will take his statement and produce him in court to seek his custody for further investigation,” said women PSI MS Gohil, who is the Investigating Officer (IO) in the case.  

Zala has been charged with IPC section 354-A (sexual harassment), section 509 (insulting the modesty of women and section 506 (criminal intimidation), which is applicable to his wife and the unidentifed person as well, Gohil said.  The involvement of a high-ranking professor in the case has sent shock waves in the educational community here.  

The issue came to light when three women professors gave an application to women police on July 30 about anonymous letters in vulgar language being sent to them at their respective offices in Social Science building.  

These professors claimed that the letters, addressed to each of them and written in English, were either found in empty rooms or kept on their tables during April and May.  “After their verbal complaint to the GU authorities, these professors gave an application to police to trace the person and take action. A day after they gave us application, Zala's wife and an unidentified person allegedly met these women and confessed that Zala wrote those vulgar letters,” said a press release by women police.