MMS scandal rocks Chandigarh University 

Huge protests erupted on the varsity campus after reports emerged that private videos of the inmates of girls’ hostel had gone viral on internet. The police have arrested four persons, including the girl who shot the video, in the case so far, writes Rajendra Khatry

The MMS scandal rocked the Chandigarh University (CU) Mohali recently. Alleged Videos of university girls bathing in the hostel bathroom reportedly secretly shot by an inmate and sent to her boyfriend in Shimla which was rumored  forwarded on social media was shocking indeed.

Various rumours served as trigger points. Shock and outrage over the indecent incident  reverberated throughout the country. Massive protests were seen at Chandigarh University Mohali by the students in Mohali at  midnight after their talks with the authorities apparently failed following the videos of objectionable  videos of 60 hostel girls in the university were rumoured to be leaked.

In the midst of the sudden protests in the university, the matter was reported to the police. Later four persons- a girl student of Chandigarh University and two men from Himachal Pradesh were arrested in the incident under Sections 354-C of IPC and the IT Act. One of the persons arrested-Sunny Mehta, was reported to be the girl’s boyfriend who had made the video. The other was named Rankaj Verma. The Mohali police got a 7-day remand for them from the court.

Meanwhile the Punjab Police later arrested the fourth accused, an Army man posted in Arunachal Pradesh in the Chandigarh University video clip case, according to Director General of Police (DGP) Gaurav Yadav. This was the fourth arrest in the case.

The accused was identified as Sanjeev Singh of Jammu who is suspected to be blackmailing the accused girl student. He was arrested from Sela Pass in Arunachal Pradesh with the support of the Arunachal Pradesh Police, Assam Police and Army authorities. He is allegedly the person who was calling up and sending messages to the accused girl to click more photos and videos. As of now, he is the main accused.

Earlier Massive protests were held by Chandigarh University students on the campus in Mohali at midnight after their talks with the authorities apparently failed. Students shouted “We want justice,’’ slogans. The protest was against the accused for making videos of her fellow hostel mates and sending them to a man in Himachal Pradesh’s Shimla, who reportedly uploaded these videos on the internet. Students were in a state of shock when a few of them reportedly saw such objectionable videos online.One or two girl students even got shocking  international calls, saying their indecent videos had been uploaded on the internet.  There were rumours that MMS of 60 girls in the hostel were  leaked.

The Punjab government immediately set up a Special Investigation team (SIT) to investigate the matter over which there was such an outrage. As the news spread like wildfire, panic stricken parents from many parts of the country rushed to the Chandigarh University to take back their daughters/sons staying in the hostel. No study holiday was declared by the university till September 25.

Meanwhile in a leaked video being investigated by the police, the woman suspect was seen admitting to the fellow students that she was being pressured to send the objectionable photos and videos of the girls. “ We are verifying the facts,” according to SIT in-charge Rupinder Kaur Bhatti.

Kharar DSP Rupinder Kaur Sohi also visited the university campus to investigate the matter. Also experts led by Forensic Science Lab Deputy Director Ashwini Kalia checked the common washroom in the D Block of Le Corbusier girls hostel.

Even as the police arrested the three suspects — the Chandigarh University girl and two Himachal youths — on 7-days remand, they began investigating the role of a fourth suspect, along with the photo of another girl, as part of their investigation into the video leak incident. The accused was a first-year MBA student, according to the police.

Many protesting students reportedly claimed that after the videos went viral, some girl students living in the hostel attempted suicide. But the police and the university authorities vehemently refuted the suicide attempts claim immediately.

Mohali Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP), Vivek Soni also reportedly denied any incident of death, injury or attempt to suicide in the aftermath of the video leak and said that only one girl had fainted who was immediately hospitalised and was stable.Electronic devices and mobile phones were taken into custody by the police and  were sent for forensic examination.

SSP Soni said the accused girl student stated that she only  sent her photographs to her friend but they also tried to verify whether she had sent pictures of other girls as well.

According to the police, they tried to verify  claims that the student who was accused of leaking the videos, was being blackmailed by any man. A case under section 354C pertaining to voyeurism under the Indian Penal Code and Section 66E of the Information Technology Act (punishment for violation of privacy) had been registered against the woman at Kharar (Sadar) police station.

The Chandigarh University also clarified that no girl had attempted suicide. Also no girl was admitted to any hospital in the incident. According to the CU, all the rumours of objectionable videos shot of other girl students were totally false and baseless. No videos were found of any student which was objectionable except a personal video shot by a girl which was shared by her with her boy friend.

Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann expressed grief over the incident and ordered a high-level probe into the matter. “Sad to hear about the Chandigarh University incident…Our daughters are our pride…have ordered a high-level inquiry into the incident. Will take strict action against the guilty persons. I am constantly in touch with the administration and I appeal to all of you to avoid rumours,” the chief minister tweeted in Punjabi.

Commenting on the issue Delhi Chief Minister and AAP supremo, Arvind Kejriwal said that the incident was very serious and shameful. He promised the harshest punishment  to the culprits.

On the other hand, BJP leader Som Parkash demanded strict action against the culprits. “It is an unfortunate incident. Police must  take serious action against those involved in this incident. Such incidents should not occur again, he demanded.

In a damage control exercise the CU management held a meeting with the staff members and appealed not to panic. The management asked them to remain positive during the present crisis.

Even as the investigation in the MMS scandal goes on, the sensational matter has reached the Punjab and Haryana High Court. An advocate of the HC, Jagmohan Singh Bhatti filed a case demanding CBI probe in the matter. In his complaint Bhati alleged that the Chandigarh University and the Punjab government had totally failed to carry out a fair investigation and at the same time the students of the university were not being allowed to protest. The Punjab police should not put any kind of force on the students.This matter concerns the safety and security of the girl students and should be probed thoroughly, said Bhatti.

Founded by CU’s Chancellor Satnam Singh Sandh,  the Chandigarh university is huge. As many as 20,000 students from India and abroad are enrolled in it. 4000 girls are pursuing various courses at the university located in Dharuan, in Kharar of the Mohali district in Punjab. Among the top ranked private universities in India, Chandigarh University became the youngest University to make it into QS World University Ranking. The university has had a meteoric rise in the last few years, and there were talks that it was a deliberate attempt to check its progress by rivals who felt threatened by its growth.