In a fallout of their bitter public feud, the Karnataka government on Tuesday (Feb 21) transferred IAS officer Rohini Sindhuri and IPS officer Roopa Moudgil without assigning them new postings.
The quarrel between Roopa and Sindhuri on Monday (Feb 20) reached the office of Chief Secretary Vandita Sharma. They both submitted a petition seeking action against each other and explaining their stance. Sharma is believed to have directed both not to air their opinions in public and adhere to service rules.
During her meeting with Sharma, Roopa is said to have submitted a three-page letter listing corruption allegations against Sindhuri during various postings. Roopa said she would urge the government to investigate allegations against Sindhuri.
“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,” Roopa asked. The trigger for the outburst may have been a photo of Sindhuri sitting with Janata Dal-Secular(JD-S) MLA Sa Ra Mahesh in a restaurant that recently went viral. The two had several public fights accusing each other of corruption when Sindhuri was posted in Mysuru in 2021.
The recent meeting between the two was speculated as a move towards ending their animosity in the run-up to the state assembly elections.
Among the allegations levelled by Roopa was one pertaining to Sindhuri’s alleged role in the 2015 death of D.K. Ravi, an IAS officer of the 2009 batch, by suicide. Roopa referred to the personal chats between Sindhuri and Ravi just moments before his suicide in 2015. A section of media had reported that transcripts of WhatsApp messages by Ravi on the day of his death indicated he was in love with Sindhuri and allegedly committed suicide when his overtures were rebuffed.
Roopa also alleged that Sindhuri had a role in the suicide of another Tamil Nadu cadre IPS officer.
Sindhuri has denied all charges levelled by Roopa. “She collected photos from social media and screenshots of (my) WhatsApp status to defame me. As she has alleged that I sent these pictures to some officials, I urge her to reveal their names,” Sindhuri said.
Sindhuri’s husband, a real estate businessman Sudhir Reddy, also complained at a local police station, accusing Roopa of defaming and outraging his wife’s modesty. Accusing the IPS officer of accessing personal photos through hacking, Reddy said Roopa had misused her official position due to personal agenda or jealousy.
The public outburst by the two officers was a culmination of a long-simmering dispute between the two. A couple of years ago, JD-S MLA Sa Ra Mahesh made a series of corruption allegations against Sindhuri and demanded an investigation. He charged Sindhuri’s involvement in a cotton bags purchase scam. Sindhuri, in turn, had accused JDS MLA Sa Ra Mahesh of land encroachment.
As the public spat between two officers showed no signs of abating, Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai on Monday night said the Chief Secretary has given direction to both officials verbally and in writing, to abide by All India Services Conduct Rules, and they have agreed to it.
“They’re behaving in a bad way. Let them do whatever they want in their personal lives. But to act like this in full media view is an insult to the IAS and IPS. They must face punishment,” Home Minister Artha Jnanendra said. “There are conduct rules. They were warned earlier as well,” he added.