Sharmili Mallick

The Commissionerate Police on Friday detained the Editor of a web-channel, Sudhanshu Sekhar Rout, for questioning following harassment allegations levelled against the journalist by Olympian and ace Indian sprinter from Odisha, Dutee Chand.

Rout was reportedly picked up from his office at Jharpara in Bhubaneswar and taken to the Mahila Police Station for questioning. Police have also seized some documents, computer and hard disk from Rout’s office.

Bhubaneswar DCP Umashankar Dash said, “Based on the complaint of athlete Dutee Chand at Mahila Police Station day before yesterday (Wednesday), a case has been registered against Rout. He was taken from his office by a police team which is questioning him in connection with the case. Dutee has made serious allegations ranging from threats, defamation, sexual harassment insulting modesty and others against Sudhanshu Sekhar Rout,” he added.

Dutee had lodged a complaint with the Mahila police station against Rout, a reporter of the web channel Smruti Ranjan Behera and RTI activist Pradip Pradhan for allegedly causing her stress by publishing defaming new stories against her during her participations at the recently held Tokyo Olympics 2020.

The 25-year-old sprinter had addressed a press conference yesterday where she alleged that the news stories published by the channel had hurt her a lot and she underwent stress which affected her performance at the world class event.

Chand had also moved the civil court in Bhubaneswar demanding compensation of Rs 5 Crore from the journalist for defaming her and subsequently causing her to lose advertisement contracts with several corporate houses.

On August 2, Chand had failed to qualify for the semi-finals in the women's 200m event in Tokyo Olympics. 

Running in heat 4 on track 2 of the Olympic Stadium, Dutee finished with her season's best timing of 23.85 seconds which was not good enough to qualify her for the semi-finals as she finished a distant seventh. She was nowhere near her personal best of 23.00 seconds.

Her performance at the Games was vehemently criticised by the sports enthusiasts across the country and the State.