Karnataka: Public spat between two women bureaucrats embarrasses govt
The social media war in Karnataka between two senior women bureaucrats, one an IAS and another IPS, is turning ugly and this has made Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai ask the chief secretary and the director-general of police to ask the officials to end the controversy.
Senior IPS official and MD of Karnataka Handicrafts Development Corporation D Roopa Moudgil first published on her Facebook account screenshots of IAS officer Rohini Sindhuri, the Commissioner of Muzrai department, asking why the latter was sharing her photos with male IAS officials as the images were not in good taste.
War of words
Sindhuri hit back, saying Roopa had lost her mental balance and that she would lodge a complaint with the chief secretary. The war of words between the two women bureaucrats embarrassed the IAS and IPS fraternity in the state and Chief Minister Bommai. The CM has asked the chief secretary and the DGP to take appropriate action in this regard.
Meanwhile, on Monday, Sindhuri filed a complaint with the chief secretary against Roopa for sharing her private photos on social media. She dared Roopa to reveal the names of the said IAS officials, to whom, according to the allegation, she sent private photos.
Sindhuri’s husband Sudhir Reddy also filed a police complaint against Roopa at the Bagalagunte police station in Bengaluru, seeking action against her. Reddy said the photos shared were from 2013-14 and were “personal and private”. “How did she get the photos? From whose phone?” he asked. He demanded to know the source of the photographs and asked whether Roopa had hacked into somebody’s phone to access them.
Roopa, meanwhile, has raised questions about the ‘link’ between Sindhuri and the death of IAS officer DK Ravi. The allegations levelled by Roopa were with reference to personal chats between Sindhuri and Ravi.
It all started on Saturday (February 18) when Roopa made several allegations against Sindhuri, including dereliction of duty. In the wake of reports of Sindhuri reconciling with MLA Sa Ra Mahesh after their clash over illegal land, Roopa posted Sindhuri’s private photos on social media. Roopa claimed the message in a social media group to other IAS officials by Sindhuri violated service rules.
Listing 19 allegations against Sindhuri, Roopa said: “These kinds of pictures may seem normal. But what does it mean when a female IAS officer regularly inflicts these and many such images on two or three male IAS officers? It will not be her private matter and offence as per IAS Service Conduct Rules. Any investigative agency can also probe the authenticity of these pics. A picture of a salon haircut, lying down with a pillow may seem normal to some. The context speaks otherwise.”
Sindhuri, in her statement, said that personal hatred in a position of responsibility is dangerous to society. She said Roopa had been transferred several times for creating controversies. Accusing Roopa of having a personal grudge against her, Sindhuri said Roopa has posted these photos to be in the news.
Roopa Moudgil is a 2000-batch IPS officer and hails from Davanagere. Her husband Maunish Moudgil is also an IAS officer. In 2007, Roopa had arrested the then Madhya Pradesh chief minister and former Union minister Uma Bharti in connection with the Hubli Idgah Maidan case on the orders of a Hubli court.
She has been transferred nearly 40 times in a service spanning more than 20 years. In June 2017, she took charge of the DIG Prisons and exposed Sasikala, the close aide of former Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu Jayalalithaa, who was being provided with illegal privileges in Parappana Agrahara Jail. Later she was transferred as Road Safety Commissioner.
In another case, she accused the then Additional Commissioner of Police of Bengaluru, Hemant Nimbalkar, of misappropriating funds for the Suraksha Nagar project worth more than Rs 600 crore. Both officials started a war of words and later both were transferred to different posts.
Roopa is, at present, the Managing Director of the State Handicrafts Development Corporation. She was in the news in October 2022 for objecting to the appointment of Beluru Raghavendra Shetty as the president of the State Handicrafts Development Corporation. She alleged that Shetty had 31 criminal cases and 15 warrants against him. Shetty was later removed from that post by the government.
Sindhuri is one of the most popular, though controversial, IAS officers in Karnataka. Hailing from Andhra Pradesh, she is a 2009-batch Karnataka cadre IAS officer. Sindhuri has served as District Collector in many districts of the state, including Hassan and Mysore, and is currently working as the Commissioner of the State Muzrai Department.
She was in the news after IAS officer D K Ravi committed suicide. Ravi, a married person, was allegedly frustrated with Rohini for rejecting him for marriage. Ravi’s death created a controversy when Siddaramaiah was the state chief minister. As the opposition BJP alleged it was murder, Siddaramaiah ordered a CBI inquiry which concluded that Ravi committed suicide.
Earlier, when Sindhuri was the District Commissioner in Hassan, she had a public disagreement with then minister HD Revanna in the DC’s office, which went viral on social media. She was transferred from Hassan, but she fought back and filing a petition in the Karnataka administrative tribunal.
In September 2020, she was transferred as the District Collector of Mysore where she got into a dispute with the then Mysuru City Corporation (MCC) Commissioner Shilpa Nag. Nag threatened to resign, accusing Sindhuri of interfering in her work.
In a more serious case, Chamarajanagar District Collector alleged that the death of 24 Covid patients in 2021 due to lack of oxygen in the district was because Sindhuri, who was the District Commissioner of Mysore, did not give oxygen on time. The expenditure of money on Covid management is also a subject of controversy.
Sindhuri also had a conflict with Mysore’s KR Nagar MLA Sa Ra Mahesh. Her audio alleging that Mahesh has got illegal land went viral. Mahesh filed a defamation case against her and later alleged that she illegally built a swimming pool in the DC’s residence from public money. He also alleged that as it was a heritage building, the pool and the gym were built illegally. Sindhuri was also accused by Mahesh of getting kickbacks in a Rs 14-crore tender process for buying eco-friendly cloth bags when she was with the handloom corporation.