Congress party’s social media team continues to employ Chirag Patnaik, who allegedly harassed a former colleague.
More than a lakh rupee has been spent via Chirag’s Facebook profile for the party’s election campaigns on Facebook, as per the details available in the social media site’s ad library.
Out of Rs 692,727 spent for promoting Facebook posts, Rs 100,817 was spent via Chirag Patnaik. “The estimated amount of money that this Page spent during the prior week on ads related to politics and issues of national importance,” read the disclaimer. This expenditure is for the posts during Feb 2019 – 30 Mar 2019.
Chirag was accused of sexual harassment by a former colleague in the social media team in July 2018. He was arrested by the Delhi police on July 31, 2018and was released on bail on the same day.
“As stated in the complaint, Mr. Chirag Patnaik abused his official position to engage in perverted acts which can be mildly termed as Sexual Harassment. The Applicant conveyed her disapproval both verbally and by action, but Mr. Chirag Patnaik did not relent and continued with acts of harassment,” an entry in the Delhi police FIR said, reported NDTV.
Party’s social media team chairpersonDivya Spandana had informed that an Internal Committee has been set up. “Regarding the allegations: The Social Media Dept has set up an Internal Committee and as per the provisions of the Act the Internal Committee is already investigating the complaint. In view of confidentiality of the investigation no further comments will be made.”
However, no details about the action taken as per the report are available in the public domain.
Times Now in October 2018, quoting the charge sheet, said the complainant had informed the party officials including the current president Rahul Gandhi about the alleged harassment but no one acted on the issue.
While the party’s election manifesto considered women’s security and 33% reservation in Parliament as major issues, its social media team continuing to employ sexual harassment accused questions the sincerity of the party in the issue.