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India Today’s Statement on Gaurav Sawant Sexual Assault Allegations a Shameless Cop Out: Twitter Reacts

Sawant on the other hand has denied the allegations and plans to seek 'legal aid'.

The India Today Group released a statement in response to the allegations of sexual misconduct against its executive editor and TV anchor, Gaurav Sawant on Monday, November 12. Sawant was accused of sexual assault by journalist Vidya Krishnan in an article published by The Caravan magazine.

As reported by an NDTV journalist, the India Today Group’s statement said, “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.”

Meanwhile, Sawant took to Twitter to state that he has sought legal recourse to counter the allegations. He said, “The article published by Caravan is irresponsible, baseless, and completely false. I am talking to my lawyers and will take full legal action. (I am) so grateful to my family, friends, and viewers for their support.”

Twitter users found the India Today Group’s response less than satisfactory and minced no words in pointing the same out. Understandably, a correlation was made between Rahul Kanwal’s — news director for India Today and Aaj Tak — recent “simulated” skirmish with Maoists in Chhattisgarh, and how the organisation has lost its credentials within the spate of 24 hours.

Rajdeep Sardesai who consults for the group was also brought into the fray and was questioned on where he stood on the matter:

Twitter users have called for the Group CEO Aroon Purie to take a stand as had been done in their reporting of the MJ Akbar #MeToo saga.

Also Read: #MeToo: Journalist Vidya Krishnan Accuses India Today Primetime Anchor Gaurav C Sawant of Sexual Assault

In the article published in The Caravan, Krishnan stated that Sawant sexually assaulted her in 2003 when they were travelling on a defence reporting assignment to Beas, Punjab. Krishnan, then a 20-year-old, was a part of the Pioneer. In the article Krishnan said that Sawant had claimed that he did not have anything “naughty” in mind, he “wanted to get into the bathtub” with Krishnan. Later Sawant came to her room, unzipped his pants and tried to force Krishnan’s hand on his penis. “He had not backed off… I had it made it very visible to him that this was an unwelcome advance. He had not backed off,” Krishnan said. “I felt like he was overpowering me, which is why in my panic I started screaming.”

Despite these denials and polite brush-offs, Krishnan has received support from Kanika Gahlaut, former weekend editor at Hindustan Times. In a tweet posted on Tuesday, November 13, Gahlaut said, “If it helps I can testify Gaurav Sawant is a pest. I look for discreet places to smoke. (I) found him behind some hedges at group conclave. He lunged. I gave it off to him. He (said), “C’mon when was last time you got any?” His justification for lunging — I’m single. That’s how sick his mind is.”

Also Read: #MeToo: Pallavi Gogoi Maintains Stand, Says MJ Akbar ‘Just Like Other Serial Sexual Abusers’

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