A woman IPS Officer in Tamil Nadu has alleged sexual harassment and misbehaviour by a high-ranking male colleague while she was on duty during Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami's tour of central districts a few days ago.
Sources in the state DGP office have confirmed this to NDTV, and added that the woman officer had alleged she was asked to get into the senior officer's car and had faced misbehaviour.
Sources said no action has been taken against the male officer as yet, but confirmed that he had been excluded from meetings related to security cover for Prime Minister Modi's visit to Coimbatore on Thursday.
Sources also said the department would refer the complaint to a committee in accordance with the Vishaka guidelines.
A six-member committee - to be led by Jayashree Raghunandan, Additional Chief Secretary of the Planning and Development Department - has been set up to investigate the complaint, an order from the Tamil Nadu Home Department said.
The Inspector-General of Police (IGP) to whom the woman officer had reported the matter did not respond to calls, and neither did the officer who has been accused of harassment.
The situation has swiftly taken a political turn, with DMK MP Kanimozhi tweeting: "The protector also needs protection during AIADMK rule. When a woman IPS officer is sexually harassed by a higher-ranked officer and the Chief Minister takes no notice of it, what hope do 'ordinary' women have in this regime?"
DMK chief MK Stalin, who is Leader of the Opposition in the state, has criticised the ruling AIAMK for "shielding such officers".
Mr Stalin said: "It is a shame that the government shields such officers. This is (the) peak of ugliness... a reflection of arrogance. I bow my head to the woman officer for her courage."
A few years ago another senior male officer also faced a sexual harassment complaint from a woman officer. He was later given charge of a department that probed allegations against the Chief Minister, following which the opposition slammed the ruling party, saying that "such officials are shielded to protect tainted leaders of the ruling regime".