Maid Drops Sexual Harassment Charge Against Indian Consul General
New York, Aug 16 : A former domestic help who accused Indian Consul General in New York Prabhu Dayal of making sexual advances, has now dropped the “sexual harassment” charges in an ‘amended complaint' filed in a US court here.
Santosh Bhardwaj, 45, had filed a forced labour-suit against Dayal on June 20 this year accusing him of treating her as a slave and making sexual advances.
In her complaint, Bhardwaj had alleged in an eight-paragraph section titled ‘Sexual Harassment and Escape' that Dayal had asked her to “give him a massage for pain in his legs” if she wanted money to send to India for her husband's treatment.
“Bhardwaj interpreted Dayal's statement as a request for sexual contact of some form... she was scared by his request,” the initial complaint had said.
However, now a “First Amended Complaint” has been filed on behalf of Bhardwaj by her lawyers on August 12 in the United States District Court, Southern District of New York. In this amended complaint, the entire ‘Sexual Harassment and Escape' section has been removed. Further, there is no mention of any sexual harassment elsewhere in the amended complaint either.
A line in the initial complaint that had said “.... culminating in an incident of sexual harassment” has also been dropped in the new amended complaint. The amended complaint also drops the charges that Bhardwaj had to sleep in a small storage room in the Dayal residence in the city. The June 20 labour-suit against Dayal had alleged that while Bhardwaj worked for him and his family, “she had to sleep on a mattress on the floor in a small storage room, which was just big enough for the mattress and a small chest for her clothes.”
The complaint had further said that Bhardwaj was not allowed to sleep in any of the three vacant guest rooms in the Dayal residence. The amended complaint drops this information as well and states that Bhardwaj lived in a room in Dayal's New York home.
Another line in the initial complaint that Bhardwaj was “forced to work even when she did not feel well” and that the Dayals “did not allow Bhardwaj to call her family in India from their house telephone” has also been removed in the amended complaint.
Further, the line that read Bhardwaj “suffered severe emotional distress as a result of defendants' coercion and exploitation and defendant Prabhu Dayal's sexual advance” now reads “Bhardwaj suffered severe emotional distress as a result of defendants' conduct” in the August 12 complaint.
Apart from Legal Aid Society, another law firm Outten and Golden is now representing Bhardwaj. In the amended complaint, Bhardwaj has filed new charges of “retaliation,” alleging that the Dayals “retaliated” against her for filing the suit.
It said the Dayals tried to “intimidate” her from proceeding with the litigation by “calling for her deportation and contacting the relevant authorities to effectuate this.”
Dayal had earlier rubbished the charges levelled against him saying they were “complete nonsense. These are mischievous and malicious lies.” PTI