- Tamil Nadu Governor's cheek-patting gesture found offensive by many
- "It was an act of appreciation", was the Governor's justification
- "Didn't want his appreciation...I wanted an answer", the journalist said
Journalist Lakshmi Subramanian had written to Mr Purohit conveying her anger at his gesture after she asked a question during his press conference on Tuesday evening.
In response, the 78-year-old governor offered his apology, but with a bizarre justification - that too, not long after distancing himself from a sex-for-degrees scandal at a college.
"I considered (your) question to be a good one. Therefore, as an act of appreciation for the question that you had posed, I gave a pat on your cheek considering you to be like my granddaughter," he wrote. Mr Purohit added that it was "done with affection and to express appreciation for your performance as a journalist, since I was also a member of that profession for about 40 years."
Not quite buying into the "grandfatherly pat" claim, Ms Subramanian said she accepted his apology, "even though I am not convinced about your contention that you did it to appreciate a question I asked."
Speaking to NDTV, she said: "I didn't want his appreciation...I wanted an answer. He is the constitutional head of state and I am a journalist. There can be no other relationship."
She said it was unprofessional behavior and completely uncalled for, for Mr Purohit to touch a stranger without consent.
Hours later, she even rubbished his explanation with a scathing tweet.
Washed my face several times. Still not able to get rid of it. So agitated and angered Mr Governor Banwarilal Purohit. It might be an act of appreciation by you and grandfatherly attitude. But to me you are wrong.- Lakshmi Subramanian (@lakhinathan) April 17, 2018
The governor was roundly condemned for conduct unbecoming of a constitutional post.
He had called the press conference on Monday after a professor at Devanga Arts College, accused of asking her students to agree to sexual favours for degrees, had claimed she knows the Governor, who is the chancellor of the university.