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Slap heat on Modi minister

Ahmedabad, Sept. 9: Angered at being made to wait at a railway crossing, a controversial minister in the Narendra Modi government allegedly slapped a stationmaster yesterday.

Prabhatsinh Chauhan, minister for cow protection and pilgrimage development, was on his way to his native village of Mehlol in Panchmahal when his official vehicle was made to stop at a level-crossing in Dehgam town, near Gandhinagar.

This enraged Chauhan, against whom an FIR was lodged last June in connection with a Rs 124-crore scam involving the Panchmahal District Cooperative Bank.

The minister who rushed to Dehgam station, assaulted station superintendent Arun Kumar Sharma and threatened to kill him.

Sharma has lodged a complaint against Chauhan and his security guard with Kalupur railway police.

Realising that he might get into trouble, the minister in turn filed a complaint against the superintendent, alleging that Sharma had misbehaved when he complained at being made to wait.

In his complaint, Sharma said Chauhan marched into his office yesterday afternoon and pulled him up for making him wait.

The minister, accompanied by his state reserve police bodyguard, then proceeded to rough him up.

Railway officials and the police rushed to the station on hearing of the incident.

Kalupur railway police have booked Chauhan for assaulting a public servant, stopping him from conducting his duty and criminal intimidation.

Railway sources said the minister got angry when a guard at the level-crossing told him the stationmaster’s help was needed to open the gates. Chauhan then rushed to the station and barged into Sharma’s room.

No action has been taken against the minister, who claims to be “innocent’’.

Chauhan admitted that his bodyguard had roughed up Sharma, but said he was not involved. “It is a matter between the stationmaster and my bodyguard. They have to explain their behaviour. I’m a clean person,” the minister said.

Divisional railway manager L.M. Shahor spoke to the district collector and the director-general of police who have said they will investigate and take “appropriate action’’.

Shahor said a probe is on even though Chauhan is yet to be questioned.

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