Watch CBS News

Indian official in hot water for draining reservoir to find his phone

An Indian official has been suspended from his job for wasting hundreds of thousands of gallons of water after ordering a reservoir drained in a bid to find his cellphone.

Rajesh Vishwas, a food inspector with the Chhattisgarh state government, dropped his phone in the Paralkot reservoir — a scenic spot in central India — last weekend as he tried to take a selfie.

He first sent divers into the reservoir, but when they failed to find his $1,200 Samsung phone, he ordered the entire reservoir drained.

An image from video shared widely on social media shows the water being pumped out of Paralkot reservoir in central India's Chhattisgarh state, on the orders of state official Rajesh Vishwas, who dropped his phone into the body of water.

It took diesel-run pumps more than three days to drain the roughly 530,000 gallons of water from the reservoir. They found his phone at the bottom, but to Vishwas' disappointment, it had stopped working.

The officer claimed his phone contained sensitive government information and that he had permission to drain the reservoir. But the state government said no such permission was granted and accused him of misusing his position and wasting fresh water at a time when it's sorely needed.

Parts of north and central India are currently facing a heat wave, resulting in water shortages for millions of people.

The water Vishwas ordered pumped out of the reservoir would have been used for irrigating farm fields.

Seeking to defend himself, Vishwas claimed the water was "wastewater unfit for irrigation," and that "no farmer was affected" by his action.

His suspension was to remain in place pending a full investigation.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.