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Smriti Irani CCTV row: FabIndia CEO, MD fail to appear for questioning, seek more time

The top officials of FabIndia on Tuesday failed to appear for questioning in connection with the voyeurism case filed against the outlet’s staff after Union HRD Minister Smriti Irani alleged last week that the store had a CCTV camera suspiciously placed near the trial room.

FabIndia’s Chief Executive Officer Subrata Dutta and Managing Director William Bissell have sought more time before they finally appear for questioning.

Goa Crime Branch had earlier issued summons to FabIndia’s CEO, Managing Director and nine other top officials asking them to appear before it at 10 am.

Both the CEO and MD had earlier confirmed their presence before the investigating officer, according to Superintendent of Police Kartik Kashyap.

“The company officials have failed to appear. Their lawyer has sought more time for them to appear. We will have to see what time is given to them. They had sent their representative who was quizzed by the investigating officer,” Inspector General of Police Sunil Garg said.

“They didn’t come. We are waiting to study the order given by district court while granting anticipatory bail to FabIndia’s store manager,” said lawyer Raju Paulekar who is representing FabIndia.

Goa Police, which is probing the voyeurism case, had said that all those involved in the case would be brought to book and “other victims” too would be called for recording their statements. Irani, who visited a Fabindia store at Candolim last week, alleged that it had a CCTV camera focusing at the trial room.

Subsequently, four employees of the store – Paresh Bhagat, Raju Payanche, Prashant Naik and Karim Lakhani – were arrested and booked under IPC sections 354C (voyeurism), 509 (intrusion into privacy) and IT Act’s section 66E (capturing, publishing image of private area of any person?without his/her consent).

However, they were later granted bail by a local court which said that police had made out no grounds for custodial interrogation.

Meanwhile, a local court here granted anticipatory bail to Chaitrali Sawant, manager of FabIndia’s Candolim store, where Irani had spotted a CCTV camera suspiciously placed near the trial room.

Sawant was missing ever since a local BJP MLA, on behalf of Irani, filed a First Information Report blaming FabIndia for setting up the intrusive CCTV, which the allegedly partially captured several women changing their clothes.

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