A government official in India was suspended after ordering the drainage of a reservoir to retrieve his lost phone. The incident happened when Rajesh Vishwas dropped his phone into the Kherkatta Dam while taking a selfie. It took three days to pump out millions of liters of water from the dam, only to find that the phone had suffered irreparable water damage.
Vishwas claimed that the phone contained sensitive government data that needed to be retrieved. However, he has been accused of misusing his position. The Samsung phone, valued at approximately $1,200 (100,000 Indian rupees), was dropped by the food inspector in the central Indian state of Chhattisgarh.
Local divers tried to locate the phone but were unsuccessful. Vishwas then arranged for a diesel pump and claimed to have obtained verbal permission from an official to drain ‘some water into a nearby canal’, saying it would benefit local farmers with increased water supply.
The pump operated over several days extracting an estimated two million liters (440,000 gallons) of water—reportedly enough to irrigate an area of 6 square kilometers (600 hectares) of farmland. However, Vishwas’ mission was interrupted when another official from the water resource department arrived following a complaint.
Priyanka Shukla, an official from the Kanker district, stated that Vishwas has been suspended pending an inquiry. She emphasized that water is a vital resource and cannot be wasted in such a manner.
Vishwas has denied misusing his position and asserted that the water drained was from the overflow section of the dam and was not suitable for use. Nevertheless, his actions have faced criticism from politicians.