A senior official in the Centre’s Department of Telecommunications (DoT) — who had written to the Delhi Police chief Monday regarding a video wherein rebel AAP MLA Kapil Mishra advocated attacks on “traitors” — has been suspended.
The order to suspend Ashish Joshi, controller of communications in DoT, was issued by O P Jairath, assistant director general (SEA), DoT, on Tuesday. It read: “The competent authority hereby places Ashish Joshi under suspension with immediate effect.”
The order also stated that “during the period of suspension, Joshi will be paid subsistence allowance which shall be 50 per cent of his basic pay. It is further ordered that during the period, the order shall remain enforced that Joshi shall not leave the headquarters without permission of competent authority”.
On Monday, Joshi wrote a letter to Delhi Police chief Amulya Patnaik about how “Mr Kapil Mishra has circulated a highly incendiary video provoking people to attack some citizens. The video violates IPC and IT Act”. The letter was typed on the DoT’s official letterhead.
The over two-minute “poem” by Mishra, posted in a video on Twitter Sunday, had invoked the Pulwama terror attack, and named “Barkha (Dutt), Naseeruddin (Shah), Kamal Haasan, (Prashant) Bhushan”, among others.
Mishra’s “poem” said: “Modi ji tum unko dekho jo dushman hai seema paar. Baaki janata nipta degi ghar mein chhipe hue gaddar.” A source claimed that “Joshi was not summoned by the ministry, nor was he asked to give an explanation”.
A senior official in the Ministry of Communications told The Indian Express: “The reasons are Joshi’s misuse of official position, creating public confusion and violation of conduct of rules. The issue is that he is not doing it in his personal capacity, he claims to be doing it in an official capacity.”
Another senior official at the Ministry of Communications said: “Joshi did not take his seniors into confidence while writing to the Delhi Police chief about Mishra.” The official also hinted at letters that Joshi sent to telecom operators earlier this month about “misuse of telecom network for sending obscene and vulgar messages”.
The letters, accessed by The Indian Express, state: “Many noted figures namely Ravish Kumar, Abhisar Sharma, etc have been subjected to obscene and vulgar messages on their mobile phones. You are hereby directed to take action against the customers/subscribers of your network for sending obscene messages as it is a violation of customer declaration in the customer application form. Action taken report be kindly sent within 15 days.”
The letter was also marked to secretary, DoT. As per a source at the DoT, “These letters, as well as Joshi’s letter to Delhi Police chief about Mishra, are the reasons he’s been suspended”. Joshi, who was active on Twitter until Monday, has deactivated his account.