In a shocking incident, the collector of Chhattisgarh's Surajpur district was removed from post after a video of him brutally thrashing a man and smashing his mobile phone for allegedly violating the COVID-19 protocol went viral on social media.
Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel ordered the removal of IAS officer Ranbir Sharma on Sunday, May 23. In a tweet, Baghel condemned the act and stated that he came to know about the incident through social media.
Taking cognisance of the incident, the Chief Minister also said that such action will not be tolerated in the state and also reportedly directed officials to provide the man, 23-year-old Aman Mittal, a new phone.
The incident that drew sharp criticism took place on Saturday, May 22.
In the video, Sharma can be seen can be standing in front of the man, who is seen pleading and showing a piece of paper and something on his mobile phone. In a fit of rage, Sharma takes the device and throws it on the ground. The collector then goes on to slap the man.
Aman Mittal had stepped out of his house to get medicines for his grandmother and get a blood test done for his brother when he was caught by Sharma who was patrolling the streets. The police had registered an FIR against Mittal under Section 279 of the Indian Penal Code for overspeeding, reported Times of India.
IAS Association Reacts
The Indian Administrative Service (IAS) Association has condemned Sharma's act. In a tweet, the body said that Sharma's actions were "unacceptable and against basic tenets of service and civility". Soon after the Chief Minister's directive, the Chhattisgarh government transferred Sharma to the Secretariat in Nava Raipur as Joint Secretary (waiting).
Following the IAS Association's statement, Sharma issued a statement saying that the person that he was seen hitting in the video was not a minor, as has been claimed by many.
Although the officer apologised, he said that he had been fulfilling his duties amid the coronavirus pandemic and the step was taken to make people understand the severity of the situation.
However, this is not the first time that Sharma has been in the news for all the wrong reasons. In 2015, he was caught taking a bribe of Rs 10,000 as SDM in Kanker district. He was shifted as Under Secretary in the Secretariat, reported The Times of India.