‘Objectionable’ clip lands official in police net

Kiran Bedi suspends Puducherry official over WhatsApp video; Ministers accuse LG of overstepping her limits

Published - January 01, 2017 07:49 am IST - PUDUCHERRY:

URGENT MEETING:  Ministers and senior officials meeting Director-General of Police Sunil Kumar Gautam at his chamber  in Puducherry on Saturday.

URGENT MEETING: Ministers and senior officials meeting Director-General of Police Sunil Kumar Gautam at his chamber in Puducherry on Saturday.

The Crime and Intelligence Wing of the territorial police on Saturday registered a case against an officer belonging to the Puducherry Civil Service (PCS) cadre on charges of posting an objectionable video clip in a WhatsApp group initiated by Lt. Governor Kiran Bedi to interact with government officials.

According to police sources, a case has been registered under Section 67 A of the Information Technology Act (Punishment for publishing or transmitting obscene material in electronic form).

“On the basis of a complaint from Raj Nivas, we have registered a case against the officer. Investigation is on to ascertain the veracity of the complaint,” said a senior official.

Sources said A.S. Sivakumar, Registrar of Co-operative Societies, had reportedly shared objectionable content in the WhatsApp group ‘Prosperous Puducherry’.

Sources said a Raj Nivas official, who was managing the WhatsApp group, had brought the issue to the notice of the Lt. Governor.

The official was summoned to the Raj Nivas and an explanation was sought from him.

A complaint was later lodged against Mr. Sivakumar and a police team picked up the official for questioning.

Later, Mr. Sivakumar was suspended by Ms. Bedi with immediate effect in exercise of the powers conferred under Sub Rule (1) of Rule 10 of the Central Civil Services (Classification, Control and Special) Rules, 1965.

“Most tough action taken against senior officer here for a very grave criminal act. Case registered and officer suspended,” the twitter handle of Ms. Bedi — @thekiranbedi — said later in the day.

A senior police official said that prima facie, it appeared to be a case of an inadvertent error although further investigations were under way.

Ministers protest

Meanwhile, Welfare Minister M. Kandasamy, who holds the Cooperation portfolio, along with Ministers A. Namassivayam, M.O.H.F. Shahjahan and PCS officers, visited the office of the Director-General of Police Sunil Kumar Gautam and registered their protest over the detention of the official.

Mr. Kandasamy took strong exception to Ms. Bedi exercising her powers arbitrarily and skipping the elected Ministry in suspending the official.

He said that the Lt. Governor was acting on her own and she had been visiting Assembly constituencies without the knowledge of the Ministers and MLAs. The Centre should recall the Lt. Governor, he said.

Meanwhile, CPI national secretary K. Narayana alleged at a press conference that the Puducherry Lieutenant Governor had been functioning on her own without consulting the elected Ministry and was overstepping her limits.

Mr. Sivakumar was let off by the police later in the day.

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