Fabindia denies charges of CCTV capturing Smriti in trial room

PTI, PANAJI | 03 April 2015 22:43 IST

The Fabindia has officially denied that the camera near the trial room has recorded anything happening inside the trial room, countering the allegation of BJP MLA Michael Lobo.

A major issue of intruding into privacy of woman has come to the fore as union HRD minister Smriti Irani today raised an alarm over a CCTV camera pointed at the trial room of Fabindia in Candolim.

She had gone inside the trial room to try some apparel from the outlet.

Fabindia Managing director William Bissel said there are security cameras in all the stores but they are not in trial rooms.

"They cannot see what is happening inside the trial room," he said.

According to BJP legislator Lobo, however, footage from the camera installed four months ago was being recorded in a computer in the manager's office and it held many recordings of people changing in the trial room.

"When we went through the hard disk and computer to check the recordings, we saw everything. All things were getting recorded over there when anybody was changing clothes. From the level of stomach till above everything was getting recorded," he said, adding, "This is mischief... Somebody has been watching the recording."

"Our team members have seen the recording and we have not detected any of what Mr Michael Lobo said. We have not been able to verify any of his statements ...Until such time we verify these claims, it has to be stated as claim. These are unverified claims...We had a senior officer with us in our investigative unit. He looked at everything very carefully and as of the moment this is a claim. Security cameras installed are not focused on trial rooms," Bissel said.

According to him, the cameras are routinely placed in places where shoplifting can occur.

"We have investigated the issue. We are an organisation whose management team comprises 70 per cent women”, said Bissel.

He however said Fabindia will fully cooperate with the police investigations.

The Rs 1,000-crore home-grown lifestyle brand, Fabindia has set itself a target of increasing its customer base from 1.5 million to 10 million customers within the next four to five years. The company is better known for ethnic wear.

The police in the meanwhile have detained four male staff members of the showroom.

The Candolim outlet has already been sealed and the showroom is being inspected.

The CCTV camera was installed on a wall, against a foot-high ventilation gap on the side of the trial room cubicle.

"A case has been filed under section 354 C (voyeurism) and 509 (intrusion into privacy) of Indian Penal Code against employees who were monitoring the cameras. We are analysing the entire data," said North SP Umesh Gaonkar.

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