The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Post-FIR, pay on hold

Ranchi, Oct. 24: Complaining against an MLA of the ruling dispensation is a costly proposition and a Block Cooperative Extension Officer in Garhwa, Biswanath Ram, is learning it the hard way.

His salary has been held back on the orders of the Garhwa deputy commissioner, Arvind Kaushal, ostensibly because Ram failed to attend a “review meeting” at the district headquarters.

But Ram has been in the news ever since he filed a complaint against Bhavnathpur MLA Bhanu Pratap Sahi, under the SC/ST Act.

While Ram accused the MLA of insulting, intimidating and torturing him, the court issued a warrant of arrest against the MLA, which was never executed by the police. But the pending warrant of arrest came in the way of Sahi being inducted into the council of ministers, with the governor refusing to administer the oath of office to him.

Ram, since then, is being persuaded to withdraw his complaint case against the MLA. Congress and RJD leaders are also reported to have escorted Ram to the state capital recently for a meeting with chief minister Madhu Koda.

While Ram has been under pressure to fall in line, and has expressed that his life is under threat, holding back his salary is seen as yet another coercive step to make him see reason.

The Garhwa deputy commissioner, however, described it as a routine disciplinary measure. “His salary has been held back after he was found absent at a review meeting, which is held every month,” Kaushal told The Telegraph. The action had nothing to do with the case pending against the MLA, claimed the deputy commissioner, as similar action has been initiated against others who missed attending the meeting.

It is not clear whether Ram missed the meeting because he was hijacked to meet the chief minister in the state capital. Or whether he has submitted any explanation so far.

The MLA, meanwhile, is camping in New Delhi and said he will pray for bail only after awaiting developments in the Jharkhand high court on November 3.

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