An Indian FT who was sentenced to 9 months’ jail by a district court earlier lost his appeal against his conviction on Friday (2 May).
Balasubramaniyan Gowri Balan, 34, was found guilty by the court earlier for molesting a 19-year-old law firm intern in an MRT train.
During the morning rush hour in the packed train, Balasubramaniyan touched the undergraduate several times.
The intern testified that she was playing games on her mobile phone when she felt someone touching her in her groin area. She saw Balasubramaniyan’s arm near her body but thought that the contact was accidental.
But the intermittent touches continued. When the train was less crowded, she moved to another spot in the train but he followed her. Soon after, she again felt fingers pressing her groin area. This time, she was certain he was doing it deliberately.
Not only did Balasubramaniyan touch her several times, he even trailed her as she switched trains.
He trailed her all the way to Clarke Quay station, even though his intended stop was the Little India station. He later followed her to New Bridge Road and waited for her while she bought breakfast at a coffeeshop before going to her office.
As Balasubramaniyan approached the intern on the street and asked, “Are you Janet?”, she lashed out. She demanded to know why he had touched her in the train. She grabbed him and flagged a taxi in an attempt to take him to a police station. But he broke free after a struggle and fled.
Back at her office, the intern broke down and cried. She called her boyfriend as well as a colleague and told them that she had been molested. They suggested she make a police report immediately, which she did.
The police later managed to trace Balasubramaniyan through CCTV footage at Clarke Quay station. Indeed, the footage showed him following her.
In his defence during the trial, Balasubramaniyan admitted following the intern but denied molesting her. He told the district judge that he just wanted to befriend her.
He said he was holding his haversack in his right hand and a train handgrip above him with his left. Any contact between him and the victim was accidental owing to the movement of the train, he said.
However, the judge rejected his defence. The learned judge found the intern’s account “candid, frank and forthcoming”.
A quick check on the Net shows that Balasubramaniyan worked for NCS, a GLC under SingTel. NCS is a government-linked infocommunications technology (ICT) service provider and has over 8,000 staff serving governments and global commercial enterprises.
Balasubramaniyan had been working for NCS as an IT consultant since April 2009