An Indian official ordered to pump water to find a phone that fell into a reservoir while retrieving a selfie has been suspended

This article is transferred from [澎湃新闻];

A government official in the central Indian state of Chhattisgarh recently ordered the entire reservoir to be drained to retrieve his hand after dropping his phone into a reservoir while taking a selfie. The officer was suspended after the incident came to light.

According to a report by the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) on May 27, food inspector Rajesh Vishwas (Rajesh Vishwas) took a selfie at the Kherkatta (Kherkatta) dam in Chhattisgarh state with a Samsung mobile phone worth about $1,200. Accidentally fell into the reservoir.

In a video statement, Vishwas said he bought a diesel pump after local divers failed to find the phone. Vishwas claimed he had verbal permission from an official to discharge “some of the water” from the reservoir into a nearby canal, adding that the official said it would “actually benefit the farmers because they would get more water”.

The diesel pumps ran for three days and removed about 2 million liters of water from the reservoir, which is reportedly enough to irrigate 6 square kilometers of farmland. Another official from the water department arrived at the reservoir after receiving the complaint and stopped Vishwas from continuing to pump water. When Vishwas’ Samsung phone was found, it was already unusable due to excessive water ingress.

Vishwas, who claims his phone contains sensitive government data, has been charged with abuse of power.

“He has been suspended pending an investigation. Water is an essential resource and cannot be wasted like this,” Kanker district official Priyanka Shukla told the media.

Vishwas denied that he was suspected of abusing his power and said that the water he discharged came from the overflow section of the dam and was “unusable for irrigation”, but his behavior has drawn criticism from Indian politicians.