Bengaluru: The Basavaraj Bommai-led Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government in Karnataka has transferred two senior women civil servants, days after they entered into an ugly spat, with one accusing the other of inappropriate behaviour unbecoming of a civil servant.
D. Roopa Moudgil, an IPS officer of the 2001 batch and managing director of Karnataka Handicrafts Corporation until Tuesday, had levelled allegations of misconduct against Rohini Sindhuri, an IAS officer of the 2009 batch and commissioner of the Muzrai department.
In a Facebook post Saturday, Roopa shared pictures of Sindhuri which she claimed the IAS officer had sent to “three male” colleagues. This, said Roopa, amounted to a “crime” according to the All India Services (Conduct) Rules for officers of the Indian Administrative Services (IAS). “Pictures like this may feel normal. But, what does it mean if a female IAS officer sends one to one or two or three IAS male officers and many such pics,” she asked.
Later that same day, Roopa levelled 19 allegations against Sindhuri, including one pertaining to her alleged role in the 2015 death of D.K. Ravi, an IAS officer of the 2009 batch, by suicide.
In response, Sindhuri released a statement Sunday accusing Roopa of driving a “false, personal vilification campaign” against her. “I will take legal and other action with appropriate authorities for her actions amounting to misconduct and criminal offences under various sections of the Indian Penal Code,” she said.
Both Roopa and Sindhuri were relieved of their present charge Tuesday without any indication of their future posting.
ThePrint reached D. Roopa Moudgil and Rohini Sindhuri via calls but did not receive a response by the time of publication. This report will be updated when a response is received.
Araga Jnanendra, Karnataka’s minister for home affairs had told reporters Monday that officials engaging in “such bad behaviour” must be punished. “They should be punished and I have already spoken to the DG (director general of police) and to the CS (chief secretary). The chief minister is also apprised of the matter,” he said.
Reacting to the spat, BJP Rajya Sabha MP from Karnataka Lahar Singh Siroya had in a tweet Monday termed it “unfortunate”. “I urge @PMOIndia and @HMOIndia to advise bureaucrats across India to log out of their personal social media accounts. Their personal views and preferences often interfere with functioning of governments,” he wrote.
Also Read: Tipu Sultan is back & reigning over Karnataka politics. Why BJP has resurrected him
Roopa Moudgil — IPS officer in spotlight
Then Karnataka’s Deputy Inspector General of Police (DIG), Prisons, Roopa shot to fame in July 2017 after she alleged that authorities at the central prison in Bengaluru’s Parappana Agrahara granted preferential treatment to former All India Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) chief V.K. Sasikala in exchange for a ‘bribe’ of Rs 2 crore.
She had in an internal report highlighted irregularities such as drug abuse, unregulated movement of prisoners and favourable treatment to select high-profile inmates like Sasikala and fake stamp paper kingpin Abdul Karim Telgi at the central prison.
Days after her allegations made waves, Roopa and her superior — director general of police (prisons) H.N. Sathyanarayana Rao — were transferred out of the prisons department.
The BJP, then in the opposition, had cited the transfers to intensify attacks on the Siddaramaiah-led Congress government, accusing it of shielding corruption.
Roopa has since given multiple TED Talks, recounting her experiences as an officer of the Indian Police Service (IPS). Her name even did the rounds as an aspirant for a BJP ticket from Bengaluru South seat for the 2023 Karnataka Assembly elections.
Her husband Munish Moudgil — IAS officer of the 1998 batch — was also transferred Tuesday and has now been posted as principal secretary with the Department of Personnel and Administrative Reforms.
Rohini Sindhuri & ‘Bangalore land mafia’
As with Roopa, Sinduri too is no stranger to controversies. Besides her alleged involvement in fellow IAS officer D.K. Ravi’s death, she has in the past faced allegations of high-handedness and corruption.
Sindhuri was blamed for the oxygen shortage that led to the deaths of 24 Covid patients at Chamarajanagar district hospital in May 2021. The local administration had blamed her for delaying the dispatch of oxygen from Mysuru which they claimed led to the deaths.
In June 2021, Shilpa Nag, an IAS posted in Mysuru, resigned from the civil services after accusing Sindhuri of “harassment” and “humiliation”. “There is a process, a forum in which the chief secretary, a regional secretary is there. Everyone should follow the process,” Sindhuri had told Kannada news channels at the time, in response to Nag’s charges.
Sindhuri was also criticised in 2021 for defending the construction of a swimming pool at Jala Sannidhi, the official residence of the Mysuru district collector at a cost of Rs 28 lakh.
In December last year, singer Lucky Ali had accused Sindhuri’s husband and brother-in-law of misusing government resources to usurp a parcel of land in Kenchenahalli he claimed belonged to a trust run by Ali’s family. The singer even aired his complaints against the “Bangalore land mafia” on Twitter, tagging the Karnataka director general of police.
Sindhuri’s husband Sudhir Reddy maintained that he purchased the land in question in 2012 from Mansoor Ali (Lucky Ali’s brother) and his minor daughter Baby Sabrina.
Sindhuri has also been at the receiving end of sexist barbs. In May 2021, Janata Dal (Secular) MLA Sa Ra Mahesh, while accusing her of corruption during her tenure as Mysuru deputy commissioner, had said the district needed “role model officers” and not “models”.
(Edited by Amrtansh Arora)
Also Read: ‘Countering BJP’s Hindutva narrative’: Why Kumaraswamy has gone after Peshwa Brahmins