#MeToo: India Today Executive Editor accused of sexual harassment

New Delhi: India Today Executive Editor Gaurav Sawant has been accused of sexual harassment by a journalist who’s alleged account was published in news magazine ‘The Caravan’.

Gaurav Sawant started his career as a TV anchor and Journalist is accused of sexually harassing Vidya Krishnan 15 years ago while she was doing an assignment with Mr Sawant who is also alleged to have molested her by coming into her hotel room, NDTV reports.

Responding to the allegations Mr Sawant, now Executive Editor with India Today, took to Twitter and said: that the Caravan article is “irresponsible, baseless, and completely false”. “I’m talking to my lawyers and will take full legal action. So grateful to my family, friends, and viewers for their support.”

When India Today was reached to comment on the situation it responded: “The article is distressing to read. Unfortunately, we are in no position to comment on it or investigate the matter since Gaurav Sawant was not employed with us in 2003. Nevertheless, Mr. Sawant has been asked to provide an explanation. Besides dismissing the allegations entirely, he has informed us that he is consulting lawyers to seek legal remedy.”

Journalist Vidya Krishnan had just started her career at The Pioneer when the incident took place she alleges. She is also the former health editor at The Hindu.

Speaking of her assignment as a newbie she was assigned to cover a peace-time drill at a military station in Beas, Punjab, organized by the Indian Army.

Incidentally, Mr Sawant who was a well-known defence correspondent at the time was also on that trip.

Recalling one of her instances where Mr Sawant molested her she said was on the military vehicle carrying the reporters team and she happened to be sitting in front of Mr Sawant.

She said that though she did not react to Mr Sawant’s inappropriate touch her “body was frozen still”. “I didn’t feel secure enough to tell anybody and say, ‘This is happening, make it stop.’ I didn’t have the confidence to say anything.”

The abuse did not just end there and it escalated even more that evening she said.

She alleges that the same evening Mr Sawant arrived at her room surprisingly and even forced himself in to her room after which he said that he just wanted to get into the bath tub with her.

He also partially undressed exposing himself to her she alleges. “I felt like he was overpowering me, which is why in my panic I started screaming,” and my voice “louder and louder,” which stopped him she alleged.

“I think there was some sense of decency where he was like, ‘Okay, I can’t rape her,’ so he went away at that point,” Ms Krishnan’s article read.

She said that she didn’t complain about the incident at her workplace The Pioneer but she wanted to approach Chandan Mitra, the editor and a former Rajya Sabha member of parliament, because of “how far down the food chain she was”.

She added that not naming Mr Sawant was due to professional considerations but and her own social conditioning.

Many ugly faces have been unveiled in #MeToo Campaign that has turned things upside down with many women coming forward to speak against the men who have had used their power and position to assault them.