Chandigarh: A Punjab superintendent of police and winner of a government award for sporting excellence has found himself in the middle of a controversy after a lewd video was forwarded to a WhatsApp group from his phone number.
The Punjab director-general of Police and the state women’s commission have sought separate reports on the matter.
The 1.23-minute video featuring a topless dancer was circulated from the cellphone number of Parminder Singh Bhandal, the superintendent of police (city) SAS Nagar and former captain of the national basketball team who has won an Arjuna Award.
The WhatsApp group to which the video was sent on Monday has as members police personnel, local politicians and journalists.
“The zonal inspector-general has been asked to submit a report. Based on the report, action will be initiated,” said Punjab DGP Suresh Arora.
Punjab Women’s Commission chairperson Paramjit Kaur Landran said the panel had filed a suo motu complaint and would take action within 15 days.
“This is a very unfortunate incident. A senior police officer is not expected to behave in such a manner. We will ask the senior superintendent of police, SAS Nagar, to investigate and initiate action within 15 days,” Landran said.
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So far, no official complaint has been lodged against Bhandal, in his 50s.
According to sources, immediately after the video was circulated, Bhandal had sent a message to the group apologising for the forward and said the children of a friend had done it.
“He said one of his friend’s children were fiddling with his phone and they forwarded the video. Some (in the WhatsApp group) objected to the video, some ignored it. He apologised soon after. Some of our colleagues suggested that he keep his phone locked,” said a police officer who is a member of the group.
Despite several attempts, Bhandal could not be contacted. Some of his colleagues who spoke to this newspaper could not say which cellphone model the officer used.
Under the Information Technology Act, publishing or transmitting obscene material electronically is punishable with up to three years’ jail and a fine.
The senior superintendent of police, SAS Nagar, Kuldeep Singh Chahal, said no legal action could be taken against Bhandal in the absence of a formal complaint.
Bhandal was removed from the probe into the Ekam Singh Dhillon murder case earlier this month following allegations by the victim’s relatives that he was trying to shield one of the accused. Mohali resident Ekam was killed allegedly by his wife and her family members and his body stuffed into a suitcase.
-The Telegraph, Calcutta