‘D. Kannan was just following orders of his senior ex-DGP Rajesh Das’.
New Delhi: The sexual harassment complaint filed initially by a woman IPS officer against former Tamil Nadu Special Director General of Police (DGP) Rajesh Das on 22 February had not mentioned the name of former Superintendent of police of Chengalpattu, D. Kannan.
The name of Kannan—who was accused by the woman IPS officer of “blocking her official car” on the orders of Das, even as she was on her way to Chennai to file a complaint against Das—appears on the letter that the woman officer had sent on 26 February to the Home Secretary, Government of Tamil Nadu.
As per the complainant, the alleged sexual harassment took place on 21 February when she was traveling in the same official car with Das.
The Sunday Guardian has accessed both these letters (dated 22 February and 26 February) written by the woman IPS officer.
The state government has removed Das from his post and a FIR has been lodged against him. A High court mandated inquiry is also being done in the case. Kannan, who was first transferred to a “non-election post” by the Election Commission of India (ECI) in the poll-bound state was later suspended by the ECI which also directed disciplinary proceedings against him and relevant portions of Indian Penal Code (IPC), including Sections 341, 354 A (2) and 506 (1), slapped on him.
Sources close to Kannan, a state cadre policeman, who had joined the force in 2003, claimed that he was being “targeted” and made a scapegoat in the entire case, which had now turned, they claimed, into a platform to settle old score by groups of IAS, IPS officers.
The sources, including family members and close friends, claimed that Kannan, was not even “remotely” involved either directly or indirectly, in the alleged sexual harassment case—a fact which is even clear from the two complaints filed by the woman officer.
The Sunday Guardian reached out to the woman officer seeking her response on the matter, but none was received. Kannan, too, refused to respond to The Sunday Guardian’s queries.
“No one is denying that Kannan—on being asked by his superior officer DGP Das—moved towards the toll plaza from the place where he was on bandobast duty for the Chief Minister. The said order of the DGP stated that the DGP was urgently trying to talk to the woman IPS officer, but since her phone was not reachable, Kannan should intercept her and give her his own phone so that she could speak to the DGP. And that’s what he did. It is not that he took 100 men (as some media reports have stated) to intercept the car of the woman officer. Kannan at that time was traveling on bandobast duty with 10 of his men. And when they saw the Innova car of the woman officer approaching the Paranur toll plaza, they hand-signaled the driver to stop the car. Later, the woman officer, while sitting inside her car, spoke to the DGP on Kannan’s phone for about 12 minutes and then she left. All this (which happened on 22 February) happened around 1.30 pm and has been recorded in the CCTV cameras that are installed at the toll plaza. Everything is available on record,” a source close to Kannan told The Sunday Guardian while requesting anonymity fearing retribution against him and Kannan.
The car, according to the source, sped past the policemen who were signaling it to stop, after which the policemen standing with Kannan ran after the car. The car finally stopped near the cabin of the manager of the toll plaza after which Kannan and his team arrived near the car.
“Then the two (Kannan and the woman officer) started interacting during which the woman IPS officer asked Kannan how dare he stop the car of an IPS officer, to which he replied that he was also a SP level officer and he had stopped her only after getting an order from their superior DGP who wanted to speak to her and who had asked him to hand over his phone to her. Then Kannan rang the DGP (Das) and handed the phone to her,” a source who was present on the spot told The Sunday Guardian.
According to him, nothing on the lines of the woman officer’s car being blocked by 100 men or the keys or her car being pulled out ever took place.
According to another source close to Kannan, Kannan had no way of knowing what had happened between the woman IPS officer and Das and he was simply following the orders of DGP Das in good faith.
“If he would not have followed the innocuous orders of Das (of ensuring the woman IPS officer speaks to Das on Kannan’s phone) he would have been charged with insubordination. Kannan, when he intercepted the car of the woman IPS officer, had no knowledge of what had transpired between Das and the woman officer,” the source said.
Kannan has still not been summoned by the inquiry committee that is composed of senior IAS and IPS officers to present his side of the story. As per the FIR filed in the case by the woman IPS officer, she was intercepted by Kannan and his team on 22 February while she was on the way to submit her complaint to the Home Secretary, which she finally did on the same day within hours of the incident at the toll gate. However, in that letter, Kannan’s name has not been mentioned.
Kannan, who for the last 10 years has an “outstanding” Confidential Report (CR) from his seniors, had worked for three years between 2016-2018 in the ultra-sensitive post of SP of Special Branch or the Intelligence branch which particularly focuses on doing background check of IAS and IPS officers before they are posted at sensitive posts.
During this posting, he had, according to other police officers posted in Tamil Nadu, antagonized multiple IAS, IPS officers by giving a “negative report” which highlighted their land and cash dealings, along with proof, to the state government. As a result of Kannan’s report, these IAS, IPS officers could not get coveted posts. “He has got three medals in the last few years for outstanding public service which also included a successful conduct of the 48 days religious gathering that happens once every 40 years at the Devarajaswami temple, popularly known as Varadaraja Perumal Temple in July-August 2019 when he was posted as the SP of Kancheepuram district. This event sees 5 lakh devotees every day. The suspension of Kannan by the Election Commission of India (ECI) is very demoralizing for an honest and sincere officer like him. And we believe it is now only Prime Minister Modi who can intervene and ensure justice for Kannan who is being targeted by the influential IAS, IPS lobby of the state,” the source close to Kannan said.