Ranchi, Sept. 18: Chief minister Babulal Marandi’s younger brother Nunulal allegedly manhandled an executive engineer of the building construction department on the Giridh court campus today because the official did not immediately respond to his summons to present himself at his residence.
While the engineer, described by his colleagues as an honest, soft-spoken officer, is in panic, the chief minister’s brother, who works as a contractor and is associated with the district BJP, has lodged a complaint with the Giridh Town police station.
The engineer, Roshan Lal Sharma, is reported to have lodged a “verbal” complaint with Giridih deputy commissioner K.B.P. Sinha and the district judge, who is the supervising authority in the construction of a new civil court annexe.
The incident occurred in full public view. Witnesses said the engineer was supervising the casting work for the building in the morning when three persons approached him and told him that he was being called by the chief minister’s brother.
“The engineer politely told them that since he was supervising a crucial aspect of the construction work, he could not leave the court campus and anyone could meet him later. The trio told the engineer that he should realise that the summons had been sent by Marandi’s brother, but the engineer refused to oblige,” said a witness requesting anonymity.
“The trio then left the spot, only to return in 15 minutes with a furious Nunulal Marandi and about 15 other persons. The chief minister’s brother moved up to the engineer, grabbed his collar and pushed him. Before the stunned engineer could react, Nunulal told him who he was and left the place,” the eyewitness added.
Soon, the chief minister’s brother, the district head of the BJP’s SC-ST Morcha, lodged a complaint with the Town police station, alleging that the engineer was not paying the wages due to the labourers involved in the construction work. The junior Marandi also accused the engineer of abusing him since he was an adivasi.
The Hindi complaint says: “The engineer told me that you think yourself a big leader. Go away from here, you adivasi. Else I will beat you up).”
The chief minister’s brother said in the complaint that three persons — Mithilesh Tiwari, Ritesh Dey and Deb Ishwar Soren — had witnessed the incident.
He also alleged that had the bystanders not intervened, the engineer could have killed him.
The engineer, however, had a different tale to tell. After a lot of persuasion, Sharma opened up and said: “Without any provocation, this person held me by my collar and pushed me. Marandi went away threatening me with dire consequences.”
Repeated attempts to contact deputy commissioner Sinha and police superintendent S.A. Latekar were answered with: “Saheb is in a meeting.” Calls to the chief minister’s residence in Ranchi did not elicit a reply.
Bagodar legislator Mahendra Prasad Singh said: “The engineer has been bashed up by the chief minister’s brother. There is a different set of law for the chief minister’s brother in Giridih.”
Government sources said the chief minister had been apprised of the incident and he even spoke with his brother. “The entire government machinery, including the Giridih district administration, is working full-time to strike a compromise,” the sources said.
Giridh MLA and HRD minister Chandra Mohan Prasad said he was trying to gather information.