India minister complains over ‘fitting room camera’

NEW DELHI, April 3, 2015 (AFP) - An Indian minister Friday filed a complaint against a leading high street retailer in the western state of Goa after discovering a hidden camera in its fitting room, police said.

Federal Education Minister Smriti Irani was trying on clothes at FabIndia in the holiday region when she spotted a camera pointed into the dressing room.

"When she was doing her shopping, she noticed that one of the CCTV cameras was focused towards the trial room," local police inspector Nilesh Rane said.

"She informed us about this incident and subsequently an offence has been registered," he added.

Michael Lobo, a local lawmaker from Irani’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), filed the initial complaint on behalf of the 39-year-old minister before she recorded a statement for the police.

Lobo said he found out that the camera was installed four months ago and recorded people from the waist up.

"It is a serious crime. It is outraging the modesty of a woman, this is not accepted," Lobo said.

FabIndia managing director William Bissell, however, said "cameras are routinely placed in places where shoplifting can occur".

"No organisation in the world would ever dream of doing anything like this," Bissell told NDTV, saying the company was cooperating fully with investigations.

Four employees of FabIndia were arrested late on Friday, a Press Trust of India report said. "(Company) top bosses to be questioned tomorrow," it added, quoting an unnamed police official in Goa. Goa’s long sandy beaches and laid-back lifestyle have attracted tourists for decades, and it has a reputation for being much safer for women than other socially conservative states.

FabIndia is one of the country’s best-known ethnic fabrics and handicrafts chains, attracting large numbers of foreign customers.

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