Guwahati, Aug. 14: A professor of IIT Guwahati’s biotechnology department was arrested last night for allegedly sending “unwanted” text messages to a student doing her PhD under him.
The professor, Lingaraj Sahoo, was booked under Sections 504 (intentional insult), 509 (word, gesture or act intended to insult the modesty of a woman) IPC and Section 66A (offensive messages) of Information Technology Act 2000, but released on bail. Sahoo, aged 40, hails from Odisha.
Police said the 25-year-old student had lodged an FIR on August 2 at Amingaon police outpost alleging that she was getting repeated text messages from Sahoo seeking marriage.
“In her complaint, the student alleged Sahoo had sent multiple text messages from his mobile phone with marriage proposals even after she requested him not to do so. Based on the complaint, we started investigations and found the text messages were sent from Sahoo’s mobile. Accordingly, we arrested him and released him on bail,” a police source said.
Sections 504 and 506 IPC involve punishment of upto two years and one year imprisonment respectively along with fine.
Although Sahoo was unavailable for comment, aspokesperson for IIT Guwahati, Labanu Konwar, told this correspondent that the girl had lodged a complaint with the institute’s director Gautam Baruah earlier this month and the matter was referred to the IIT’s working women’s committee.
“The committee was probing the case. In the meantime, the girl approached the telephone company to confirm whether the number from which the messages were being sent was in Sahoo’s name. But the company refused to give details without an FIR and she subsequently lodged the complaint at Amingaon police outpost. Based on prima facie evidence, the police arrested him,” Konwar said.
He said apart from the police investigation, IIT Guwahati authorities would carry out a departmental inquiry and decide its further course of action.
Sources said the working women’s committee had approached the crime unit of city police on August 6 seeking its help as Sahoo claimed he had lost his mobile phone last month.
“According to norms, a person has to lodge an FIR once they lose their SIM card or mobile phone. But when we enquired about the matter with the Amingaon police outpost, we found Sahoo had not done so. This proved the messages were being sent from his mobile phone,” a source said.