THE KOTHRUD police arrested a 31-year-old man who ran a women’s hostel, off Paud Road, after one of the residents complained to the police that the owner had installed closed circuit TV cameras inside the rooms without the occupants’ knowledge.
The complaint was made on December 25 evening and the arrest happened the same night. The man, identified as AP Shinde, was later released on bail by a magisterial court.
The building is occupied by three households belonging to the family of the hostel owner while some three other rooms have been let out to college students and even working professionals.
The family has denied any wrongdoing on part of the suspect saying the cameras have been dysfunctional for over one year. They said that the cameras were installed to deal with an internal family issue when the family members occupied these rooms. However, about a year ago when they decided to let out the rooms in question, they forgot to remove the cameras. The suspect has told police that he had installed the cameras due to some personal problems in his family life .
As per the complaint registered by the girl with Kothrud Police, she and her roommates were not aware about the presence of the CCTV cameras at all. Police booked the man under section 354 (c) of Indian Penal Code and section 66 (e) of Information Technology Act. The latter deals with the offence of intentionally violating privacy of a person without her consent.
The sister of the accused man told The Indian Express that two cameras were installed in two rooms on their lawyer’s advise to deal with a family issue. “The cameras were dysfunctional and upon checking them they will surely find that they had recorded nothing. We readily removed and handed over them the cameras and DVR machine. It was a mistake that happened unknowingly and we are paying a heavy price for the same. The incident has tarnished our reputation,” said the sister. The complainant girl is still staying in the hostel.
Police Inspector (crime) Dilip Kulkarni said, “The accused had installed cameras over a year ago due to some personal problems in his family life. Later, he shifted to another flat and rented the room to some students. However, he didn’t remove the cameras and investigation has revealed that they were not functional for some time.” The police, however, said that they have forwarded the hard disk of the suspect’s laptop to check if any relevant material has been deleted from the laptop.