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Bengaluru Intern’s Death: #MeToo Probe Against Lawyer to Continue

Lawyers accused by law intern Pushpa Archana Lall of sexual harassment summoned by cops, 3 days after her death.

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Investigation into sexual harassment charges levelled by Pushpa Archana Lall – a law intern who was found dead in her Bengaluru room on Saturday, 24 November – will continue, police told The Quint on Tuesday, 27 November.

Lall was found dead just four days after she filed a complaint against senior advocate Chandra Nayak T of Jayanth Pattanshetti and Associates and his advocate-friend Chetan Desai. According to senior police officials, the accused have been served a notice to appear before them for questioning.

While the Vyalikaval police station is handing the case of Lall’s unnatural death, the Commercial Street police are investigating Lall’s accusations of sexual harassment and stalking against the two accused.

Desai and Nayak had got bail on 22 November, two days after she had filed the complaint.

No Delay in Probe, Say Cops

Despite the FIR, the two had not been called for questioning by investigating officers till now. However, DCP (East) Rahal Kumar Shahapurwad told The Quint that the two accused would be interrogated at the earliest, and denied reports that there had been a delay in following the procedure in the case.

“In fact, the inspectors and officers have acted fast in this case. To expedite the proceedings, she had applied and secured a date with the magistrate for recording her statement under Section 164 of the Criminal Procedure Code, thus making it admissible as evidence in court. Her death certainly has an impact on this case. Investigation will continue.”
Rahal Kumar Shahapurwad, DCP (East)

Also called a 164 statement, it is the provision used to make statements made during an investigation, admissible under the Indian Evidence Act.

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In her complaint, Lall had claimed that she had met Nayak and Desai through work.

“They took me to pubs in Indiranagar and made me drink. They gathered my personal details and showed me indecent videos. They threatened my life over phone calls and WhatsApp messages.”
Excerpt from Lall’s police complaint from 20 November 

Evidence of Harassment Being Collected

Police officials said that her call records, text messages and other communication information are valuable in this case, with cops already in possession of some incriminating evidence.

“There is proof to support her claims of harassment. We are going to follow all leads and make sure the investigation is done properly,” they said.

Pressure to Withdraw Case?

Police sources said that Nayak and Desai had asked her family to come to Bengaluru to "talk sense into her”.

They further said that her family was not keen on pursuing the case, and wanted to wrap up her belongings immediately after her death. They have also instructed the police to not share their contact information.

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