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‘I am the sexual harassment ghost who haunted Tata Sons’- Anjuli Pandit

The Saga of suppression: The manner in which Tata Sons “boys club” may have protected their own & spoilt the career of a sexual harassment complainant

PART 1: WAH TAJ! You too in #Metoo?

“Taj had an internal complaint committee which constituted of Sarna, four people with two reporting lines of him, and an external member from one of Tata’s closest law firms. I could go to the Chief Ethics Counselleor instead but that was also Sarna. Losing trust in the neutrality if the Taj’s processes, I confided in Taj board members, TataGroup Executive Council members , the Chairman and the senior most HR official. The only resolution they could find was to ask me to resign from the Taj, immediately-  Anjuli Pandit

On Cyrus Mistry

“When I said I was being sidelined for speaking up, the Chairman said this was the best we can do. I felt as though they had nailed a glass ceiling over my head. Devastated, I quit”

MUMBAI, December 4th, (IE Expose) AnjulI Pandit, a former executive of Tata Sons and who worked as the Executive Assistant to Rakesh Sarna, the MD and CEO of Taj Hotels has detailed in an open letter on November 18, 2028, opening a can of worms against sections of the Tata Sons and Taj Hotel’s management, she was the “sexual harassment ghost”, which has struck one of India’s most prestigious conglomerate.

India Expose, in Part 1 of this series, headlined “Ex Taj boss Rakesh Sarna’s #MeToo moment could singe ex Chairman Cyrus Mistry”, broke the story behind the story. This wasn’t just another # MeToo story. This was one where a former woman employee of Tata Sons who was almost forced to quit after raising a serious sexual harassment charge against the MD and CEO of Taj Hotels, alleging that the Chairman Cyrus Mistry has protected his senior management and allowed the career of a young woman, who had raised a serious complaint of sexual harassment against one of the groups senior most and high profile officers, showed great promise, to be snapped.

She wrote in an open letter during the time of her resignation “In September 2017, Rakesh Sarna, the MD and CEO of Taj Hotels resigned. The Economic Times claimed his resignation was related to the sexual harassment “ghost” which haunted his tie there. After seven months of working with Sarna. From January 2015 to September 2015, I made the complaint of sexual harassment against hiM. I guess, I’m the ghost”

In her letter she goes on to explain, how the Tata group failed in resolving her case based on established protocols of handling sexual harassment complaints to ensure a safe workplace for women. Her first hurdle was the Taj Internal Complaint Committee itself. She explained “Taj had an internal complaint committee which constituted of Sarna, four people with two reporting lines of him, and an external member from one of Tata’s closest law firms. I could go to the Chief Ethics Counsellor instead but that was also Sarna. Losing trust in the neutrality if the Taj’s processes, I confided in Taj board members, TataGroup Executive Council members , the Chairman and the senior most HR official. The only resolution they could find was to ask me to resign from the Taj, immediately”

They offered me a mediocre role in the Tata Sons back officer, relegated to a desk without a phone, and no assurance of my career prospects”

A clear direct charge against Cyrus Mistry’

She then goes on to nail the senior most man Tata Son’s the very high profile Cyrus Mistry and states “When I said I was being sidelined for speaking up, the Chairman said this was the best we can do. I felt as though they had nailed a glass ceiling over my head. Devastated, I quit”

She then went on to share her experience with the law firm of the Tatas, which approached her, to sign a letter that she wouldn’t speak to the press. When she refused, a new inquiry committee was formed which has ignored her requests to share processes and its final report, advising her to move on with her life and let the issue rest without closure.

The story does not end here though. What Anjuli Pandit has done is analysed and deeply dug into what the Tatas could have done in her case, to resolve the issue towards the ends of justice but outlined several steps that should have become a benchmark to deal with cases of this nature. And the steps, many of them mandated by law, would also need the chief protagonists of the then Tata Son’s management, at the time when this incident came to its knowledge, to explain their conduct. India Expose will be monitoring this closely.  

Next Part 3: When a mature young victim of Sexual Harassment taught the Tatas a thing or two about how to deal with such cases

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IE Team

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