The government has penalized an Indian official who gained notoriety when he drained a dam to get his phone.
For draining millions of liters of water without getting authorization from the authorities, Rajesh Vishwas was fined 53,092 rupees ($642; £519).
The smartphone fell into the dam while he was snapping a selfie. He said it needed to be recovered since it contained private government information. But he’s been charged with abusing his power.
The food inspector’s Samsung phone, which is worth around $100,000, fell into the Kherkatta Dam in Chhattisgarh, a state in central India, last week.
After local divers failed to locate the phone, he paid to have a diesel pump brought in, according to Mr. Vishwas in a video statement that was cited in the media.
Thousands of litres of water were removed by the pump machine over the course of several days, but by the time the phone was discovered, it was too wet to function.
At the time, Mr. Vishwas had told the media that he had received verbal approval from a representative of the government to drain “some water into a nearby canal,” adding that the representative had stated that it “would in fact benefit the farmers who would have more water.”
However, because of the occurrence, the authorities removed Mr. Vishwas from his position. In addition, the state irrigation agency just handed him a letter reprimanding him for his conduct. A copy of the letter has been viewed by the BBC.
According to the document, Mr. Vishwas wasted 4.1 million liters of water (880,000 gallons) for his “personal interests” and was required to pay for the water used as well as a fine of 10,000 rupees for “evacuating water without permission.”
His actions were “illegal” and “punishable under the Chhattisgarh Irrigation Act,” it was said.
The act had angered the nation when it was originally reported. In a nation where various regions have water shortages, particularly during the sweltering summer months, many legislators criticized the officer’s conduct and claimed that the water should have been used more effectively.