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Senior Indian official fined £518 for draining reservoir to find phone he dropped while taking a selfie
31 May 2023, 14:47 | Updated: 31 May 2023, 14:55
A senior Indian official has been fined £518 after he was found to have ordered the draining of a reservoir in order to retrieve the mobile phone he dropped while taking a selfie.
RK Dhivar, a sub divisional officer, was handed the 53,000 rupee fine after allegedly giving food inspector Rajesh Vishwas "oral permission" to drain the Kherkatta dam.
Mr Vishwas had dropped the Samsung device while on holiday near the Kherkatta dam in India's central state of Chhattisgarh on May 21, according to The Indian Express newspaper.
The body of water, which contained around 2 million litres of water, is used to generate electricity as well as irrigate around 1,500 acres of land during the Indian summer.
The incident led to Mr Vishwas being suspended as a result.
It's claimed Mr Vishwas needed his phone back because it contained official departmental data, Indian television network NDTV added.
The incident came to light when the lead engineer on the Indravati irrigation project reportedly wrote to Mr Dhivar on May 26 and suggested the cost of the drained water should be recouped from his salary.
Mr Vishwas says he called Mr Dhivar after losing the device and "requested him to allow me to drain some water into the nearby canal if there was no problem in doing so", according to NDTV.
"He said it was not an issue if 3 - 4ft deep water was drained, and would in fact benefit the farmers who would have more water.
"That's why I got help from locals to drain around 3ft of water and got my phone back," says Mr Vishwas.
"Permission to empty the water up to 5 feet was given orally," Mr Dhivar later confirmed to Indian network ETV, "but they [Vishwas] had emptied the water up to 10 feet."
Mr Dhivar added the issue had been exaggerated.
The waterlogged phone was eventually retrieved but failed to turn on, with the pair criticised for wasting water.