A government official in central India has been suspended after ordering the drainage of more than 2 million liters (528,000 gallons) of water from a reservoir to recover a smartphone he dropped while taking a selfie, according to official announcements and local media.

Food inspector Rajesh Vishwas was on holiday near the Kherkatta Dam in the central Indian state of Chhattisgarh when he dropped his Samsung phone in the reservoir on May 21, The Indian Express newspaper reported.

He was suspended for draining «water from the Paralkot Reservoir located in Pakhanjur of Kanker,» according to Chhattisgarh Public Relations Office.

“You have been suspended by Collector Dr. Priyanka Shukla with immediate effect due to your act contrary to the provisions of the Civil Services Rules 1966.”

The water, enough to irrigate at least 1,500 acres of land during the scorching Indian summer, drained over three days from May 22, according to former Chhattisgarh chief minister ramon singh.

Vishwas defended himself in a video posted on the Indian Express website and said the problem had been «exaggerated».

«When I took it out, I took out the water and put it back in the tank,»

Vishwas needed his phone back because it contained official data from the department, according to the Indian television network NDTV.

He also said he had received «oral permission» from RC Dhivar, a local Water Resources Department official, to drain 3 to 4 feet of water, he told the network.

«Permission to drain the water to 5 feet was given orally,» Dhivar told Indian broadcaster ETV, «but they had drained the water to 10 feet.»

NBC contacted the Chhattisgarh Controller Food and Drug Administration for comment but did not receive a response.

The phone was eventually recovered, but after three days in deep water, it was rendered unusable, according to National News.

Vishwas was widely criticized on social media for wasting water resources, especially as India grapples with climate change and heatwaves.

Singh, the former state chief minister, expressed concern about Twitter: «Today, with the scorching heat, people depend on tankers, there is no arrangement even for drinking water,» he wrote.

“Under the Dau (rich person) dictatorship officials have regarded the state as their own ancestral fiefdom,” he wrote.

Mithil Aggarwal contributed.