A former employee of Delhi-based Internet media and news startup, ScoopWhoop has reportedly accused co-founder Suparn Pandey of sexual harassment and sexual assault during her 2-year-tenure at the company.
As per a report by Catch News, the complainant has also accused CEO and co-founder Sattvik Mishra and co-founder Sriparna Tikekar of ‘abetting the harassment, and even attempting to sweep it under the carpet.’
As per the report, an FIR (No. 0117) was filed at the Vasant Kunj (South) Police Station, Delhi, under section 354 A (sexual harassment), section 509 (insulting the modesty of a woman), and section 506 (criminal intimidation).
In the FIR, the complainant specified that during her tenure from 2015 to 2017 with the media company Pandey targeted her with “inappropriate comments and lewd remarks” on multiple occasions.
The FIR also stated, “Suparn Pandey in public commented on my sexuality and this comment included calling me names which reflected on my sexual orientation and my sexual preferences as well as characterised me in a certain way.”
Pandey’s application for anticipatory bail was denied today. The court told Delhi police that they will have to provide Pandey a five day notice before arresting him.
In a statement the media company emphasised that it condemns any kind of harassment at the workplace.
The complaint was forwarded to the ICC immediately on receipt and the same is being inquired as per law. The company is adhering to the rules and regulations set forth by the Hon. Supreme Court of India and the law of the land against sexual harassment at workplace and the investigation is ongoing. As an FIR has also been filed separately by the complainant, and the police investigation is ongoing, we are extending full cooperation to the police to conduct a full and fair investigation into the matter.
We are fully prepared to accept the findings of the investigations and dutifully take the necessary action if found guilty.
ScoopWhoop was founded in 2013 by Sattvik Mishra, Suparn Pandey, Rishi Pratim Mukherjee, Sriparna Tikekar, Debarshi Banerjee, and Saransh Singh. In November 2014 it raised an initial investment round of $1.6 Mn from Bharti Softbank (BSB). In November 2015 it raised $4 Mn (about INR 26.5 Cr), in a funding round, from Kalaari Capital.
This isn’t the first instance that an Indian media organisation has been accused of sexual harassment at work. Last month, an anonymous Medium blogger accused TVF CEO Arunabh Kumar of sexual misconduct. Later multiple women came forward with allegations of inappropriate behaviour by Kumar. However, no victim came forward in the weeks after the allegations were made public, to formally lodge a complaint against him.
Later on, two complaints were lodged at the MIDC and Versova police stations each. On March 29, 2017 a 27-year-old writer-director filed an FIR against Kumar under sections 354 A (causing sexual harassment) and 509 (insult the modesty of a woman by indecent words, gesture or acts) of the Indian Penal Code at the MIDC police station in Mumbai’s Andheri East suburb. The second FIR was registered at Versova police station on March 30 by a former employee.
Last week, Kumar, however, managed to get interim relief by the Dindoshi Sessions Court in the ongoing sexual harassment case against him.