Indian official suspended after draining dam to find lost phone

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An Indian government official has been suspended after he ordered a reservoir to be drained to recover his phone that he had dropped while taking a selfie. Rajesh Vishwas, a food inspector in the central state of Chhattisgarh, said his phone contained sensitive government data and needed retrieving.

Mr Vishwas was on holiday at the Kherkatta Dam when he lost his Samsung phone, worth about $1,200, into the water. He called local divers to try to find it, but when they failed, he arranged for a diesel pump to be run for three days to empty out 2 million liters of water, enough to irrigate 600 hectares of farmland.

He claimed he had verbal permission from an official to drain “some water into a nearby canal”, adding that the official said it “would in fact benefit the farmers who would have more water”. He also said that the water he drained was from the overflow section of the dam and “not in usable condition”.

However, his mission was stopped when another official from the water resource department visited the site after a complaint. Mr Vishwas was suspended with immediate effect for misusing his position and wasting an essential resource.

 By the time his phone was found, it was too water-logged to work.

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