RAW officer attempts suicide outside PMO (Lead)

August 19th, 2008 - 11:54 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Aug 19 (IANS) A woman officer of India’s external intelligence agency, apparently suffering from what officials claimed a “disturbed state of mind”, Tuesday attempted suicide outside the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO). A senior police official said a police control room (PCR) van rushed Nisha Priya Bhatia, a Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) official and director in the Cabinet Secretariat, from the South Block complex to the Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital around 2.30 p.m. after being alerted about her attempted suicide.

“We are not sure what substance she consumed. According to doctors, she is out of danger but is not fit to make any statement. We will register a case only after recording her version,” added the official who did not want to be identified by name or designation.

A sample of her stomach wash has been sent for forensic tests.

According to a Cabinet Secretariat press statement issued by the PMO in the evening, Bhatia had lodged a complaint last year alleging sexual harassment by her joint secretary.

“The complaint was enquired into by the complaint committee constituted as per the guidelines laid down by the Supreme Court in this regard. An external lady officer was also co-opted as per these guidelines. The officer, however, withdrew her complaint,” the statement said.

“The officer was given several opportunities to present her case, but she refused to cooperate with the committee. Notwithstanding, the committee completed the inquiry on May 19, 2008, and found that her allegations could not be substantiated.”

The statement said the committee found that her behaviour on a number of occasions appeared to indicate a “disturbed state of mind” and recommended medical counselling, which she refused.

“We had also received a number of complaints from different officers of the organisation that range from alleged unauthorised communication and contact with media, insubordination, misbehaviour, abuse of authority and sending of objectionable and offensive SMSs to senior government officers,” the statement said.

“Due to these complaints of misconduct, a preliminary enquiry was ordered on Aug 8, 2008. She was informed about initiation of the enquiry today (Tuesday). But she indicated that she would not appear in any proceedings, and warned that the department would face the consequences.”

“It is subsequently learnt that she went to the PMO and attempted to commit suicide. She was immediately shifted to hospital for medical care and her family was informed about the incident,” the statement said.

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