Smriti Irani-Fab India Case: Goa Police Crime Branch Likely To Summon Top Fab India Officials

04/04/2015 9:15 AM IST | Updated 15/07/2016 8:25 AM IST
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India’s ruling party Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MLA's of the state of Goa Michael Lobo, left, and Pramod Sawant stand outside a "Fabindia" showroom in Candolim, India, Friday, April 3, 2015. Police are investigating Human Resources Development Minister Smriti Irani's complaint that the niche boutique in the southwestern resort of Goa had a closed-circuit TV looking into a changing room where she was trying out clothes. (AP Photo/Press Trust of India) INDIA OUT

PANAJI — The Goa Police Crime Branch is likely to summon top Fab India officials, including its managing director William Bissell. Four employees of the fashion boutique chain's outlet in Goa were arrested for allegedly setting up a CCTV camera which overlooked the store's changing room where central minister Smriti Irani was trying out clothes.

"We will be questioning all the top officials," Superintendent of Police (Crime) Kartik Kashyap said late on Friday.

A police official familiar with the investigation of the case said questioning of senior functionaries was necessary to understand the CCTV protocol followed in Fabindia stores and security systems, which were in place at the fashion and fabric company, which has outlets across the country.

The four arrested people have been identified as Karim Lakhani, Prashant Naik, Raju Panche and Paresh Bhagat.

They have been booked under Sections 354 C (voyeurism), 509 (intrusion into privacy) and Section 66E of the Information Technology Act.

The store was sealed on Friday. Top police sources told IANS said that the case had been handed over to the Goa Police Crime Branch for further investigation even as the North District police formed a special squad to examine stores across the coastal belt for mischievously placed security cameras.

Irani, who was visiting the store located near the upmarket beach resort village of Calangute in north Goa, was trying out clothes in the changing room when members of her entourage noticed the camera discreetly pointed towards the dressing room and raised a hue and cry.

Calangute BJP legislator Michael Lobo, who was first contacted by Irani's team after the incident, said he and the police were scanning through the video footage of the particular CCTV camera which goes back to at least three months.

"The camera is in a very mischievous place and there is footage of women changing clothes for the past three to four months. We have to crack down on this evil. Many women and men appear to have been targetted here," Lobo said.

The Congress, meanwhile, claimed that the 'changing room scandal' was commonplace in Goa's populous and popular coastal belt which hosts hundreds of thousands of tourists every year.

"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.

Crackdown on Delhi malls


Delhi Police is planning to conduct rounds of search operations in malls and showrooms to safeguard women's dignity.

Last month, a girl had spotted a phone in video-recording mode inside the Van Heusen trial room in south Delhi's Lajpat Nagar and had filed a complaint.

"After the incident, our team had conducted a search operation in every malls and showroom of the national capital," Special Commissioner of Police (Law and Order) Deepak Mishra told IANS.

"We will conduct another search operations in every mall and showroom in the city to ensure dignity of women is safeguarded," he added.

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