Smitha Sabharwal, the additional secretary to Telangana chief minister K Chandrasekhar Rao, hit back at Outlook magazine for depicting her in a objectionable angle. She slapped a legal notice on the magazine. In the legal notice, sent through her lawyer Rachna Reddy, she remarked that the snippet carried in the Outlook column “No Boring Babu” was “cheap, distasteful and titillating.”
Though the snippet, appeared under a title “Deep Throat”, gave a description of a “junior bureaucrat posted in Telangana CMs office” without any name , it clearly points to Smitha Sabharwal, a 2001 batch IAS officer, as the piece is about a woman. She is the only woman officer posted in TCMs office. The snippet was embellished with a cartoon, which depicted a lady, who resembles Smitha, doing catwalk while the CM KCR in caricature watches with morbid interest with his camera.
The gossipy contents of the snippet crossed the limits of decency in dealing with a subject as subtle as a working-woman in the male dominated TRS. TRS is a party in which woman MLAs are far lesser in number while the cabinet has none.
The Outlook looked at her, as “The lovely lady, known for ethnic style,” and went on stating that she “recently stunned all by appearing in a trendy trouser and frilly top at a fashion show.”
As far Smitha Sabharwal, the relatively junior officer won the hearts of the people wherever she worked until she was posted in Medak as collector. Before being appointed as collector Medak in October, 2013, she worked in Chittoor, Kadapa, Warangal, Vishakhapatnam, Hyderabad, Karimnagar district. Having observed T-movement from close quarters, she developed sympathy towards the people participating in the movement. While watching family members of T-martyrs on the T-formation day as collector on June 2, 2014, she could not stop emotion welling out of heart. She sobbed like child before the audience drawn from across the district. Later, KCR shifted her to Hyderabad as his additional secretary.
The five-page legal notice slapped on Outllook today said the piece written by Outlook was deliberate mischief to denigrate her and her posting in CMO.The legal notice demanded an apology that is “visible and of the same dimensions.” Based on the response from the magazine Sabharwal will think of next course of action.