Friday, June 8, 2001, Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

Row over auction: EO beaten up
Praful Chander Nagpal

Fazilka, June 7
Mr Jagdish Raj Wadhwa, Executive Officer, Municipal Council, Fazilka, was allegedly beaten up by Mr Mohinder Partap Dhingra, President, Municipal Council, and his supporters today following a row over the auction of a plot in the civic body office here.

According to eyewitnesses, residential plot of the municipal council in T.V. Tower Colony and Badal Colony were being auctioned as per the schedule in the presence of Mr Balwinder Singh Brar, Naib Tehsildar, Mr Parveen Kumar, and an official representative of the Deputy Director, Local Self-Government, Ferozepore.

Plot No. 5 of Badal Colony earlier auctioned on March 16, 2000, and allotted in favour of one Ram Partap, a resident of Fazilka for Rs 69,000 was re-auctioned as the latter did not deposit the auction money.

Narinder Kumar, also a local resident made the highest bid of Rs 48,000. His bid was accepted by the officials conducting the auction. Upon this, Mr Jagdish Raj Wadhwa, Executive Officer, reportedly objected on the plea that the value offered was Rs 21,000 less than the previous auction in March, 2000.

However, the civic body chief, Mr Dhingra, overruling the objection, pleaded that the bid be accepted as it was the highest for the plot at today’s auction against the reserve price of Rs 23,000. To resolve the tangle, the President, the Executive Officer, the Naib Tehsildar and a representative of the Deputy Director held a meeting at 1.30 p.m. in municipal council office. During the meeting tempers ran high. Mr Dhingra and Mr Wadhwa exchanged hot words. Mr Dhingra and his supporters allegedly thrashed the Executive Officer. The Executive Officer, when contacted, said he was beaten up by Mr Dhingra, Dr Ramesh Verma, President, BJP, Fazilka unit, Mr Ashok Parnami and Narinder Kumar Chugh. He said he had reported the matter to senior officers of the civil administration, including the Secretary and Director, Local Self-Government, Punjab, Deputy Commissioner, Ferozepore, the SSP, Ferozepore, the SDM and the DSP, Fazilka. On the other hand, Mr Dhingra, when contacted, alleged that as they were discussing the issue of auction of the plot, the EO allegedly hurled his shoe at him.

He denied having beaten up. He alleged the latter unnecessarily tried to create hurdles in the auction. According to eyewitnesses, during the scuffle some employees of the municipal council, including women, tried to intervene, but they were also allegedly manhandled. The auction process came to a halt and remained suspended amidst unruly scenes and tension. Supporters of civic body chief, including Dr Ramesh Verma, and others also denied their involvement in the beating up of the EO.

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