Maid drops sex charges against Indian diplomat

Last Updated: Tuesday, August 16, 2011 - 12:38

New York: 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



First Published: Tuesday, August 16, 2011 - 12:38

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