Friday, December 19, 2014

BJP MLA suspended for ‘threatening’ health official

BJP MLA from Kota Prahlad Gunjal was suspended by the party leadership Friday after he was purportedly caught on tape intimidating and abusing a health officer over the recommended transfers of relatives of party workers.
Chief medical and health officer R N Yadav made the purported audio tapes of the “abusive phone calls” public before he tendered his resignation on Thursday.
The incident is likely to come as an embarrassment to the Vasundhara Raje government, particularly with the central leadership taking serious note of the offence and suspending the MLA. The state BJP unit, however, maintained that the decision to suspend the MLA was taken in consultation with Raje, who refrained from commenting.
The state BJP had Thursday issued a showcause notice to Gunjal, but dropped the matter after the he tendered an unconditional apology to the CM and the party. Gunjal, however, is yet to apologise to Yadav, who has sought legal proceedings against the MLA.
“I have also asked for security. I feel threatened now. It has been a difficult time for me,” R N Yadav told the Indian Express Friday. “I have applied for voluntary retirement and it is up to the state to decide. My service is till September 2017 and if the government wants I am ready to continue,” he added.
The issue created a storm in Parliament on Friday, with BSP supremo Mayawati seeking action against the MLA.
Later outside the House, Union Minister Venkaiah Naidu announced Gunjal’s suspension.
“The Rajasthan MLA has been suspended and a showcause notice has been issued. The same has been communicated to the state BJP unit. The party will not tolerate such misbehaviour,” he told reporters.
Apart from intimidation and threat to life, charges under the SC/ST Act have been included in the FIR filed by Yadav, who belongs to the reserved category. The charges call for a non-bailable warrant against Gunjal, the police said. Home Minister Gulab Chand Kataria said that the matter will now be handed to the CID .
Gunjal, in his apology, had said that he got carried away in a fit of rage after party workers “humiliated” him for not being able to effect the transfers of their relatives. “I had requested the CMHO on four occasions for the transfers of relatives of party workers but the work was not done. In an emotional reaction I used some abusive words that I should not have done. If this has hurt anyone’s feelings I apologise to you,” Gunjal wrote in a letter to Raje.

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