Smriti Irani row: After Goa CM, Digvijay Singh backs Fabindia in CCTV case

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Panaji | Published: April 8, 2015 10:53:43 AM

Under a cloud after the trial room camera episode involving HRD Minister Smriti Irani in its Goa outlet, Fabindia received more political backing...

Under a cloud after the trial room camera episode involving HRD Minister Smriti Irani in its Goa outlet, Fabindia received more political backing with Congress veteran Digvijay Singh holding that the company should not be harassed for the fault of some of its employees, a day after Chief Minister Laxmikant Parsekar sent across a similar message.

But trouble for the local outlet of the apparel chain, which started after Union HRD Minister Smriti Irani spotted a camera facing the trial room in its Candolim store last week, is far from over even as two of its top executives, who were issued summonses, did not turn up before the investigators.

The investigators, however, interrogated Candolim store manager Chaitrali Sawant, who was granted anticipatory bail by a local court the other day.

Commenting on the episode, Singh said top officials of Fabindia should not be harassed if it is someone else’s mischief.

“If some outlet in Goa shifted CCTV camera’s focus, the top management of Fabindia shouldn’t be harassed,” the Congress General Secretary said in a tweet, and praised the ethnic apparel chain for promoting the work of the weavers from rural India.

“Fabindia has done an excellent work in promoting Village Industry Products which KVIC couldn’t,” Singh, also in-charge of the party affairs in Goa, tweeted.

Parsekar, who belongs to the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), had said the top management of Fabindia should not be blamed for the incident.

“Fabindia is a reputed company. But I personally feel that it must not be the company’s fault but mischief played by the staff members,” Parsekar said.

Fabindia CEO Subrata Dutta and MD William Bissel, whom the Crime Branch had asked to appear before the investigators, however, skipped the date seeking more time.

“The company officials have failed to appear. Their lawyer has sought more time for them to appear. We will have to see what time is given to them,” Inspector General of Police Sunil Garg said.

Meanwhile, police have summoned 11 more employees of the outlet for quizzing. Irani, who visited the Candolim store on April 3, had alleged it had a CCTV camera focusing at the trial room.

Following this, four employees of the store were arrested and booked under IPC sections 354C (voyeurism), 509 (intrusion into privacy) and IT Act’s section 66E (capturing, publishing image of private area of any person without his/her consent). They were later granted bail.

Fabindia has denied it had placed hidden cameras in any of its stores, holding the camera in question was part of the surveillance system.

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