Indo-Canadian MP Darshan Kang sexually harassed female staffer

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Darshan Kang
Darshan Kang (right)

The Canadian Bazaar

TORONTO: Indo-Canadian MP Darshan Kang, 67, has been found guilty of sexually harassment of his former female staffer who is the daughter of his longtime friend.

An investigation was carried out by the House of Commons after female staffer Rhea Bassi, who is 25 now, filed a harassment complaint in August 2017 against Kang.

Kang was an MP of Justin Trudeau’s Liberal Party till he resigned in August 2017 to sit as an independent MP and clear his name. He has represented the the Calgary-Skyview riding (or constituency) in Canada’s parliament or the House of Commons since 2015.

Bassi worked in his constituency office in Calgary after he was elected MP in 2015. She had previously worked for him from 2011 when Kang was an MLA in Alberta.

She resigned in June 2017 before she filed the complaint against Kang.

In her complaint against the MP, Bassi alleged that Kang would repeatedly hug her `chest-to-chest’ and sometimes kissed on her cheeks despite her protests.

Kang would pat her on buttocks and lower back when the two of them stood discussing office files, the complaint said.

She said initially she thought that his behaviour towards her was fatherly because of his age, but as time went on his unprofessional behaviour towards her increased.

The woman said Kang would call her for closed-door meetings in his constituency office on Fridays and hug her closely “and did not let go, requiring her to try harder to move her body away.’’

The MP would make her unwanted phone calls on evenings and weekends and threatened to fire her if she didn’t take his non-work-related phone calls. Kang would also grab her hands when she travelled with him alone in the car.

The woman says that in June 2017 when she went from Calgary to the capital Ottawa for some training, Kang tricked her into visiting his apartment. Once she was inside the apartment, he caressed her hands and feet and tried to remove her jacket despite her protests.

He also repeatedly tried to enter her hotel room despite her objections during the Ottawa trip.

Kang reportedly offered her $100,000 to buy her silence when she threatened to complain about his behaviour in Ottawa.

She resigned immediately after the trip and filed the complaint.

The investigation found evidence of inappropriate physical contact and held Kang guilty of improper behaviour while touching her physically.

The investigation also found his behaviour offensive when Kang tried to enter her hotel room despite her objections.

But some of the allegations could not be substantiated because lack of evidence.

Kang migrated from Punjab to Canada in 1970. He was a real estate agent before he elected as an MLA in Alberta in 2008.

Kang was elected as an MP from Calgary in the last Canadian general election in 2015. He was among over 20 Indian-origin MPs in the 338-member House of Commons.

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