New Delhi: A day after civil servant Ashish Joshi complained to the Delhi Police commissioner about Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) rebel MLA Kapil Mishra’s “highly incendiary” video, in which he hits out at the “enemies” living within India, he was suspended by the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) for no stated reason.
The suspension order under the Modi government dated 26 February only said that a disciplinary proceeding against the 1992-batch Indian Post and Telecommunication Accounts and Finance Service officer is being contemplated by the department and Joshi would be placed under suspension with immediate effect.
According to sources in the DoT, no formal reason was given to Joshi for suspending him. However, the suspension came just a day after he wrote a letter to the Delhi Police commissioner complaining against a controversial video uploaded by Mishra, in which the MLA emphasises the need to attack the internal “enemies” of India like journalist Barkha Dutt, activists Prashant Bhushan, Kavita Krishnan and Shehla Rashid.
In the complaint to the commissioner dated 25 February, Joshi said that Mishra “has circulated a highly incendiary video, provoking people to attack some citizens”.
“The content of the video is self-explanatory and violates the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and IT Act,” he said.
In the video — still available on online platforms YouTube and Twitter — Mishra is seen reciting a poem, in which he urges Prime Minister Narendra Modi to deal with the external enemies, while the Indian citizens deal with those inside the country.
The time had come to enter into the houses of the “traitors” and attack them, he said in the video.
After the copy of Joshi’s letter was tweeted by the likes of Dutt, Rashid, Bhushan and former AAP leader Ashutosh, Mishra took to Twitter saying he would lodge a complaint against Joshi for “misusing” his official position.
While the DoT has officially not given any reasons for Joshi’s suspension, sources said he was suspended for misusing his official position by sending the complaint on his official letter head and for violation of conduct rules.
Following Joshi’s sudden suspension, Mishra tagged Bhushan, Rashid, Krishnan and Ashutosh in a tweet and said, “The person whose fake letter you wanted to use to get me arrested has been suspended.
“Now, look for a new drama. Your shop will also be shut like this.”
जिस का फ़र्ज़ी लेटर दिखाकर आप सब मुझे अरेस्ट करवाना चाहते थे, उसकी नौकरी गयी
This man @acjoshi is suspended from his job
अब कोई नया ड्रामा करों
आप सबकी दुकान भी ऐसे ही बंद होगी https://t.co/bTn73n8HWg
— Kapil Mishra (@KapilMishra_IND) February 26, 2019
Meanwhile, a source close to Joshi who spoke to ThePrint on condition of anonymity said that his suspension was in violation of natural justice since he was not even given a chance to explain himself before placing him under suspension.
Known as a whistleblower-civil servant, Joshi is no stranger to controversy.
In 2015, when he was serving in the Delhi government, he lodged a written complaint against Rajendra Singh, former principal secretary to Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, with Delhi’s Anti-Corruption Branch. In the complaint, Joshi accused Singh of corruption and misusing his position to favour a private firm.
On Tuesday, AAP leader Nagendar Sharma took a dig at him and tweeted, “What goes around Does come around So true for Ashish Joshi You can’t run with hares & hunt with hounds If you become a willing pawn to ruin careers of brilliant officers then same sharks will swallow you As you sow so shall you reap. Will tweet further details regularly.”
What goes around
Does come around
So true for Ashish Joshi
You can't run with hares & hunt with hounds
If you become a willing pawn to ruin careers of brilliant officers then same sharks will swallow you
As you sow so shall you reap.
Will tweet further details regularly
— Nagendar Sharma (@sharmanagendar) February 26, 2019
Before taking up Mishra’s video with the police commissioner, on 19 February, Joshi also wrote a letter to telecom operators asking them to take action against mobile number owners who had been sending obscene messages to journalists Abhisar Sharma and Ravish Kumar.
In the letter sent to nine telecom operators and marked to the secretary of the Telecom Department, Joshi said, “You are hereby directed to take immediate action against the customers/subscribers of your network for sending obscene messages (as numbers listed above) as it is also a violation of Customer declaration in CAF (Customer Application Form).”
He asked for an action report from the nine operators within 15 days.
In another bid to put a check on abusive messages and threats on messaging service WhatsApp, Joshi had recently tweeted that users can report such content received on WhatsApp directly to the DoT.
“If anyone is receiving abusive/offensive/death threats/ vulgar WhatsApp messages, please send screenshots of the message along with the mobile numbers at firstname.lastname@example.org,” he said on Twitter.
However, Joshi’s Twitter account, which had become the target of massive trolling after he sought to take action against online abuse, has now been deactivated.