Police on Wednesday lodged a first information report (FIR) against three government officials, including a food inspector, for allegedly draining out 41 lakh litres of water from a reservoir's waste weir to retrieve a mobile phone in Chhattisgarh's Kanker district last week, while the state administration suspended one of them for negligence in the latest action related to the episode.
The FIR was lodged against food inspector Rajesh Vishwas, Sub-Divisional Officer of Pakhanjore RL Dhivar and Sub-Engineer Chhotelal Dhruv, both from the water resources department, at the Pakhanjore police station based on a complaint of nayab tehsildar (revenue official) of the area, a police official said.
Vishwas allegedly pumped out and wasted water stored in the spillway basin of the waste weir, while the two water resources department (WRD) officials supported him in his unauthorised act, he said.
They were booked under Sections 430 (mischief by injury to works of irrigation or by wrongfully diverting water) and 34 (common intention) of the IPC, the official said, adding further investigation was underway.
Vishwas and Dhivar, who were posted in the Pakhanjore area of the district, have been suspended in the matter with the latter facing the action on Wednesday. The food inspector was suspended last week.
As per the FIR, the nayab tehsildar in his complaint stated that Vishwas (33) along with his friends had gone to the Paralkot reservoir in Kherketta village on May 21 for outing when his mobile phone fell into the spillway basin (cistern) of the dam's waster weir.
Vishwas allegedly drained out thousands litres of water over four days to fish out his mobile phone.
The water stored there is used by locals for daily needs, agriculture activities and serves as a drinking source for animals and birds in the summer season. Dhivar and Dhruv cooperated with Vishwas in the act, causing loss of water meant for agriculture projects and other activities, it said.
As per officials, Vishwas allegedly pumped out 4,104 cubic meter water -- equivalent to 41 lakh litres -- from the cistern of the waste weir of the reservoir for four days before his mobile phone was fished out on May 25.
After the incident came to light the next day, Kanker Collector Priyanka Shukla sought a report and Vishwas was subsequently suspended.
The collector had also issued a show-cause notice to the SDO Dhivar for allegedly giving verbal permission to drain out the water.
Vishwas has been asked to pay a penalty of Rs 53,092 to the department for his his act unauthorised.
On Wednesday, Anurag Pandey, special secretary (WRD), issued the suspension order of Dhivar, in-charge SDO (water resources) who was posted at Kapsi in the district, an official said.
As per the suspension order, Dhivar did not take any action in connection with the unauthorised evacuation of 4,104 cubic meter water from the cistern of the waste weir of the Paralkot reservoir.
Dhivar's act reflects lack of regular inspection of reservoirs and negligence in discharging duty, it said, adding he has been placed under suspension with immediate effect.