Candolim, Goa (NDTV): Union Education Minister Smriti Irani was trying on clothes at an outlet of the popular Fabindia in Goa today, when she allegedly spotted a camera positioned to record inside the small room. Footage from the camera, including that of the minister, was found recorded on a computer at the store, alleged a Goa legislator Michael Lobo, who lodged a first information report or FIR.
The police acted swiftly. Goa Chief Minister Laxmikant Parsekar, who belongs to Ms Irani’s party the BJP, said in the evening that three people have been arrested in the case, which is now being investigated by the state crime branch.
“Goa is a safe city for women, in spite of this the incident has happened. It’s an isolated case…we are dealing it with a firm hand and the culprits will be severely punished,” promised the chief minister, who is in Bengaluru for a party meet.
Ms Irani, in Goa on holiday, spotted the camera while shopping at the Fabindia store in Candolim and immediately raised an alarm, alerting her husband, Zubin Irani, Mr Lobo said.
The MLA said she then called him and he contacted the police, who registered a case of outraging a woman’s modesty. Ms Irani, 39, has recorded a statement with the police.
Mr Lobo told NDTV that the camera was positioned in a way that the lens pointed right into the changing room and was not easily visible. “When we went through the recording, the entire video was recorded… Someone did mischief… Somebody has been watching the recordings,” the MLA said.
Fabindia MD William Bissell told NDTV, “We have security cameras in all stores…The cameras are placed where shop-lifting can occur…They are not inside the trial rooms.”
Mr Bissell also said, “We are still investigating the case. Our teams have seen the recording. We have not been able to clarify what Lobo has said.”
Panaji: Smriti Irani spots CCTV directed at changing room, FIR registered
Panaji (PTI): Trying on clothes at an outlet of a reputed garment brand at Candolim village near here, a vigilant Union HRD Minister Smriti Irani today spotted a hidden camera positioned to record inside the small room, raising an alarm after which Goa Police registered a case against the staff for voyeurism.
Irani, on a visit to Goa, came across the camera when she was in the FabIndia showroom to buy clothes and immediately protested, alerting her husband, businessman Zubin Irani. said Superintendent of Police (North) Umesh Gaonkar.
She then called BJP legislator Micheal Lobo, who lodged an First Information Report (FIR).
“When we went switched on the camera, the entire video was recorded… This is mischief… Somebody has been watching the recordings,” the MLA said.
Footage from the camera, installed four months ago according to staff at the store, was being recorded in a computer in the manager’s office, Lobo said, confirming that it held many recordings of people changing in the trial room.
Calangute police, which searched the showroom after a complaint by Lobo, found a CCTV camera installed in the ventilation unit of the room.Gaonkar said police have recorded statement of Irani.
“Irani’s statement has been recorded as a victim, along with another woman who had entered the room earlier,” he said.Police have already sealed the shop and is inspecting the showroom.
A case has been filed under section 354 C (voyeurism) and 509 (intrusion into privacy) of Indian Penal Code against employees who were monitoring the cameras. We are analysing the entire data,” the SP said.
Gaonkar said that police have formed special team to inspect all the showrooms in the coastal belt to ensure that there are no CCTV cameras installed in changing rooms.
He said instructions will also be issued to all the police stations to form teams and inspect the changing rooms in their respective areas.
In Bangalore, Goa Chief Minister Laxmikant Parsekar said, “Right now I’m in Bangalore for National Executive meet but I have been gieven to understand that Madam Smriti Irani had gone to Goa, and during her stay in Goa probably she went for some purchases in shop by name FabIndia.
“Suo moto case has been registered against the concerned person. We will take stringent action. Don’t worry we will take stringent action, case has been registered against the culprit. Through investigation would be done and the culprit will be taken to task.”
“I spoke to the police officer over there. It was reported that she had gone for changing of clothes and immediately she noticed that there was one hole in the room and beyond the hole one camera was hanging, so immediately came and complained. It was verified, it was confiscated, it was learned that it was functioning and case has been registered against the manager and the staff,” he said.
Panaji, April 3 (IANS) Police are probing a niche clothing boutique in a Goa village for installing
Police Inspector Nilesh Rane told IANS that Smriti Irani had visited the boutique in the north coastal village of Calangute, 20 km north of Panaji, and was trying out clothes when one of her assistants noticed the camera and raised a hue and cry.
“The minister was in the store when one of her assistants informed her about the camera which was installed outside the changing room, but seemed to have a view of inside,” Rane said.
While Irani could not be contacted, BJP’s Calangute legislator Michael Lobo, who was on the spot, said the ruling BJP-led alliance government was taking the matter seriously.
“I along with the police are scanning the store’s hard disk right now. The camera is in a very mischievous place and there is footage of women changing clothes for the past three to four months,” Lobo said.
The Congress, meanwhile, claimed that the ‘changing room scandal’ was Goa’s best kept secret, especially in tourism-oriented coastal villages.
“Not just this boutique. All stores with such a facility must be investigated. A union minister can at least alert the authorities but most people cannot,” Congress spokesperson Durgadas Kamat said.