All India Football Federation general secretary Kushal Das has been cleared of the charge of molesting employees at workplace by the sports body's integrity officer, who termed the allegations "frivolous and devoid of truth" in his report.
Entrepreneur Ranjit Bajaj, who previously owned I-League club Minerva Punjab FC, on Monday alleged that Das had molested employees at workplace, a charge that was outrightly cleared by the AIFF and its top official.
The AIFF's integrity officer, Javed Siraj said he has come to the conclusion after conducting the inquiry which included questioning of the presiding officers of the federation's internal complaints committee over the years.
Lt Col B M R Mehta (Retd), who is AGS (administration) at AIFF, was also sent a questionnaire by Siraj.
"All the presiding officers of committee namely Shanta Gopinath, Manager, Jyotsna Gupta, EA, Indu Chaudhry, Sr Manager and Mr Col Mehta AGS Admin were questioned by sending questionnaire.
All of them have stated that no complaint of sexual harassment was received against Kushal Das or any employee of AIFF and no case of sexual harassment ever occurred in the AIFF," he stated in his confidential report.
In the report he said further, "Col Mehta specifically mentioned that he is working as head of administration since 2011 and no complaint was received by him in 2015 in his capacity as head of administration.
"This is specifically with regards to the tweet of Mr Bajaj about incident allegedly happening at Taj Mahal Hotel New Delhi. He has stated that there was no question of suppressing anything since there had been no complaint." Bajaj, who sold off Minerva Punjab FC in 2020 after owning it for seven years, had said there were "two cases of molestation of employees at workplace" and the head of the committee which deals with sexual harassment complaints at the AIFF was "forced by president Praful Patel to bury the report".
However, the AIFF integrity officer said he did not found Bajaj's allegations to be true after his inquiry.
"Regarding the tweet pertaining to incident dated 14.02.2020 after the IWL (Indian Women's League) Final in a restaurant near Chancery Hotel Bengaluru, Mrs Indu Chaudhry, Sr Manager was questioned and she replied that "there is no comment to make on the attached tweets".
"Mrs Shanta Gopinath was heading the Internal Complaint Committee during that period and she has already denied having received any complaint." "From the above facts it is clear that the allegations levelled against Mr Kushal Das, General Secretary AIFF is totally baseless, frivolous and are devoid of truth," the report said.
Soon after the allegations against Das, the AIFF said it will refer the matter to the Executive Committee, and also to the AGM for appropriate action.
The internal complaints committee's presiding officers who were questioned included Shanta Gopinath, Jyotsna Gupta, Indu Chaudhry and Col Mehta .
Bajaj and the AIFF had been at loggerheads in the past with the national federation suspending him for one year in 2018 after being found "guilty" of making racist remarks against a referee.
In 2019, the AIFF had reprimanded Bajaj for his criticism of the federation on social media. The AIFF found the criticism derogatory in nature, and Siraj's confidential report also touched upon that.
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