Chhattisgarh Official Drops Phone During Selfie, Drains Reservoir To Find It

Pakhanjur Food Inspector Rajesh Vishwas was suspended after the news came to light.

2 min read
Chhattisgarh Official Drops Phone During Selfie, Drains Reservoir To Find It

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A Chhattisgarh government official was suspended on Friday, 26 May, after it was found that he drained the water from a reservoir over two days, starting Tuesday, 23 May, to search for his new phone.

The phone, a Samsung S23 ultra – which costs Rs 95,000 – belonged to 32-year-old Rajesh Vishwas, who was a food inspector in the Pakhanjur town located in the state's Kanker district.

Vishwas had gone for a picnic to the Paralkot reservoir with his friends on Sunday, 21 May. While taking a selfie, he dropped his phone in the 10-foot-deep reservoir.

"Since I am a local, some villagers who know swimming dove in to find my phone. They looked for it for two days. When they failed to locate it by Tuesday, they suggested draining the water by a few feet. I said the phone would be damaged by now, but the locals, who share a good rapport with me, insisted that they would find it for me," Vishwas was quoted as saying by The Indian Express.

He also said that he was extremely upset about losing the phone since he had purchased it just two months ago.

"I called up the sub divisional officer (SDO) of Water Resources Department (RC Dhivar), who gave oral permission as it was just a few feet of water. On Tuesday night, I hired a diesel pump for Rs 7,500 and drained around three feet of water from the reservoir over a period of two days," he added.

The phone was finally found in a damaged condition and handed over to the owner.

Reacting to his suspension, Vishwas said that claims made by the media were "exaggerated" and the water in the reservoir was used by picnic-goers to take baths instead of for irrigation purposes.

However, the Kanker Collector countered Vishwas, saying that the water in the reservoir could have been used by villagers and animals especially considering the extreme heat plaguing the region.

"Vishwas misused his position to look for his mobile phone and without seeking permission from the competent officer evacuated water to the tune of lakhs of litre in this scorching summer season which is unacceptable. For the aforementioned act, he has been placed under suspension with immediate effect," the suspension order stated, as per The Indian Express.

This is not the first time that Vishwas, a government servant for the last nine years, has been suspended. A senior government official from the Chhattisgarh Food Department said that Vishwas had been suspended in 2021 as well for alleged misconduct in the distribution of rice. He was, however, reinstated after the Collector gave him a clean chit.

(With inputs from The Indian Express.)

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Topics:  Chhattisgarh 

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