Fiji woman accuses BHU hospital head: ‘He kissed, asked me to sleep in his room’

Banaras: A 21-year-old Fiji woman accused Dr O P Upadhyay, Medical Superintendent of Sir Sunderlal Hospital, Banaras Hindu University, of sexual exploitation.

When BHU Vice-Chancellor G C Tripathi at a meeting of its Executive Council on Tuesday pushed the regularisation of Dr O P Upadhyay’s appointment as Medical Superintendent of the Sir Sunderlal Hospital on the university campus. One of the EC members objected and said, Upadhyay had been convicted of sexual harassment by a Fiji court.

This incident took place on August 25, 2012, months after Upadhyay moved to Fiji on deputation as Advisor to the Vice-Chancellor of Fiji National University (FNU). The Nasinu magistrates court convicted Upadhyay of “indecent assault”. His counsel appealed in 2014 but the High Court of Fiji upheld the conviction order.

The Fiji woman had in a testimony said before a magistrate at Nasinu in January 2013: “He (Upadhyay) held my hand and insisted I should see the house. When we reached his room, he said I should come and sleep in his room. It was in Indian Hindi. He held my shoulder… rubbed my thighs… and kissed my cheek again.”

The order was accessed by The Indian Express which records the accusation of harassment by Fiji woman.

Convicting Upadhyay, the Nasinu magistrates court, in its order, said: “In this case, the accused first kissed her cheek. The victim thought that was a welcome kiss. The accused held her shoulder. Then accused invited to see his house, when they were walking the accused informed she can sleep with him in his house. Thereafter, the accused touched her breast and thighs. Touching the breast and thighs of an unknown firstly seen woman on that day clearly indicates indecent intention. This constitutes the indecent assault… When I evaluate the evidence, I have no doubt in my mind that the prosecution proved its charge beyond reasonable doubt.”

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When contacted by The Indian Express on Tuesday night, Upadhyay said: “The university (BHU) had taken legal opinion in my matter and it was decided that the decision of a court abroad does not hold good in our country. Hence, I was interviewed and selected by the selection committee. I was on study leave (in Fiji). It was a case of extortion and because I resisted, I was falsely accused.”

According to the official records, Upadhyay filed an appeal through his counsel before the High Court of Fiji at Suva. Wherein, he challenged the magistrate’s order, saying “sentence against the appellant is harsh and excessive in all circumstances of the case”.

In the order, High Court judge said: “I have carefully read the court record and learned magistrate sentencing remarks. In my view, he applied the correct law and procedure. He identified the correct tariff of 1 to 4 years imprisonment for indecent assault. He identified the aggravating and mitigating factors. He started with 18 months imprisonment. In my view, the sentence was not harsh and excessive, and I accordingly dismiss this ground.”

After he returned to India, Upadhyay was handed over the responsibility of Medical Superintendent at Sir Sunderlal Hospital in April 2016. According to orders issued by the Registrar of BHU, Upadhyay was given additional charge since he was the most senior chief medical officer at the university.