BHOPAL: Manoj Chawla, a Congress legislator from western Madhya Pradesh’s Ratlam district, was booked by the police on Friday for allegedly looting urea bags from a government warehouse in his constituency, police said.
Police said the lawmaker broke into the warehouse after a protest by farmers impacted due to a disruption in supplies due to a technical glitch and asked the farmers to take away the fertiliser bags.
“This robbery by a public representative is unacceptable. A first information report (FIR) has been registered in the matter,” Ratlam district collector Narendra Raghuvanshi said on Friday. Sub-divisional officer Manisha Waskale has also been removed, he added.
Chawla, who represents Alot assembly segment, said he was just trying to help the farmers who were facing problems for the last few days due to what was described by local officials as “some server issue”.
“Despite many requests, the farmers were not getting urea due to some server issue. I just tried to help farmers. If the server is not working, then they should deliver urea manually,” Chawla said, threatening to lead an agitation on the issue if the administration doesn’t resolve the problem
A warehouse official who asked not to be named, said that there was a glitch in the computer server for the past two days. “More than 200 farmers started a protest outside the warehouse. Later, MLA Manoj Chawla came and broke the lock of the warehouse to enter the premises,” the official said.
Police said an FIR has been registered against Chawla and other Congress leaders under sections 353 (criminal force to deter public servant from discharge of his duty), 332 (causing hurt to deter public servant from his duty) and 392 (robbery) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) has been registered.
Ratlam superintendent of police (SP) Abhishek Tiwari said that the FIR was filed on a complaint by the warehouse manager. “MLA Chawla and his associates misbehaved with the staff, obstructed government work and provoked people to loot fertiliser by opening the shutter of the warehouse,” he said, according to news agency ANI.
In a video released by Chawla later, the MLA said he will not be bogged down by the FIR and will continue to fight for the farmers. “The collector and SP got a fake FIR registered against me,” he said in a video clip, according to ANI.