HRD Minister Smriti raises alarm after spotting camera hid in trial room; FIR registered

Panaji: An alert Union HRD Minister Smriti Irani today raised an alarm after she spotted a hidden camera at an outlet of a leading garment store that was pointed towards the trial room she used while trying out some clothes after which Goa police registered a case of voyeurism.

HRD Minister Smriti Irani
HRD Minister Smriti Irani
Photo : PTI

Four staff members of the Fabindia showroom at the upmarket boutique chain at Candolim near here were detained for questioning following a complaint by BJP MLA Michael Lobo who was called by Irani after the incident. The Minister along with her businessman husband Zubin Irani are on a private visit to Goa.

Irani came across the camera when she was in the showroom to buy clothes and immediately protested, alerting her husband, said Superintendent of Police (North) Umesh Gaonkar.

She then called Lobo, who lodged an First Information Report (FIR).

Gaonkar said four staff members of the showroom were detained and that objectionable images were seen from the recordings of the hidden camera that was seized by police.

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, adding that it held many recordings of people changing in the trial room.

“When we went through the hard disk and computer to check the recordings we saw everything. All things were getting recorded over there when anybody was changing clothes. From the level of stomach till above everything was getting recorded,” he said, adding, “This is mischief… Somebody has been watching the recording.”

Police have already sealed the shop and is inspecting the showroom. The CCTV camera was installed on a wall, against a foot-high ventilation gap on the side of the trial room cubicle.

“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,” Gaonkar said.

Goa Chief Minister Laxmikant Parsekar, who is in Bangalore for the BJP National Executive meet, said stringent action will be taken against the guilty persons.

Fabindia Managing director William Bissel said there are security cameras in all the stores but they are not in trial rooms. “They cannot see what is happening inside the trial room,” he said.

Bissel said his staff was not able to detect any of what Lobo had said of images inside the trial room and they have to be verified.

“The cameras are routinely placed in places where shoplifting can occur,” he said.