Tamil Nadu Governor Banwarilal Purohit who patted on the cheeks of a woman reporter at a press conference in Raj Bhavan on Tuesday, apologized to her on Wednesday, saying he was sorry if he had hurt her.
In a letter addressed on the Raj Bhavan letter-head to Lakshmi Subramanian of The Week magazine, Purohit said: “I wish to express my regret and my apologies to assuage your sentiments that have been hurt.”
He said: “you are like my grand-daughter” and that he had patted her cheeks with affection to show his “appreciation for your performance as a journalist”, judging by the questions posed by her.
Purohit, whose family runs Hitavada newspaper founded by Lokmanya Tilak and published from Nagpur, said “I was also a member of that profession for about 40 years.”
At the press conference, Purohit said he was 78 and he had great-grandchildren to refute the claim made by Aruppokkottai professor Nirmala Devi in an audio clip that she was close to him.
Governor’s prompt action followed Tweets by Lakshmi Subramaniam about the incident and the consequent demand from press associations demanding an apology from him. The reporter said she would treat the matter as closed.
Nirmala, arrested on the charge of soliciting girls for doing sexual favours to officials of the Madurai Kamaraj University, has since been arrested and is now in Madurai central jail.
The Virudhanagar police have handed over the case to the Crime Branch CID as per the decision of the State Government to ensure a thorough investigation.