An internal investigation is underway into a sexual harassment accusation by a news presenter of state-owned ITN who has since resigned, according to media minister Bandula Gunawardena.
That is notwithstanding his ministry having received no complaint regarding the allegation, Gunawardena told parliament yesterday (25).
He was responding to a question raised by SJB’s Rohini Kumari Kaviratne on the basis of a letter sent by the Free Media Movement to the president alleging sexual harassment of ITN Ishara Devendra.
Kaviratne urged the revelation of the identity of the accused and the law enforced against him.
The minister said in response that he had instructed his secretary Anush Pelpita to speak to Devendra and get a complaint.
But, no complaint has been made as yet, but an investigation has been initiated.
ITN chairman Sudarshana Gunawardena, himself a lawyer, who is presently overseas, has told him over the phone that he had instructed that an independent inquiry be held by a committee headed by a female lawyer, with legal advice from the AG’s Department and the head of the Law College, said the minister.
The accused is a long-standing senior official of the institution.
Part of plot to remove ITN chairman
Meanwhile, certain media has reported that the incident has been highlighted by social media as part of a conspiracy to remove Gunawardena from the chairmanship of ITN.
The plotters are a group in a top state institution who are angered by ITN’s organizing New Year events itself without handing them over to outside organizers.
A powerful MP in the government and a senior official at the Presidential Secretariat have intervened by paying money to see that the accusation goes viral in social media.