Rings of Saturn cloud MP home minister
Posted November 27, 2010on:
Madhya Pradesh home minister Uma Shankar Gupta has declared his intention to arouse the conscience of police personnel in view of the alarming increase in the incidents of crime, particularly against women, in the State. He has not spelled out how exactly he will go about it. But those who know the home minister surmise that he will, in all probability, invoke Lord Shani (Saturn). He is known to be a great devotee of Lord Shani.
He has allowed construction of a Shani Mandir on the encroached government land in front of his official residence in T.T.Nagar area. So fervent is his faith in Lord Shani that nothing else seems to matter to him — not even the loss of human life in a freak accident, involving his own department and in the very city from where he gets elected to the Assembly.
The accident took place in the afternoon of august 14, a Saturday (incidentally, it was the day of Shani jayanti). A police van had taken 22 jail inmates for medical check-up to the State-owned Hamidia Hospital. As the van was leaving the gate of the Hospital after the check-up, its brakes failed. There being a descent leading to a busy thoroughfare, the bus rammed into four vehicles, killing seven persons on the spot and injuring over a dozen others. The police vehicle, like most of the police vehicles, was not properly maintained and serviced. Its driver, Jai Prakash, claimed that he had been repeatedly warning the authorities against the malfunctioning of the brakes but no one seemed to care.
The police and the vehicles the department maintains (or, rather fails to maintain) are the responsibility of the home minister but Guptaji had no time to go to the accident site simply because he was busy performing pooja of Lord Shani and could not risk the wrath of this malevolent demi-god (as He is depicted in the Hindu pantheon) by cutting short the rituals on the birthday of Lord Shani. It was late in the evening that chief minister Shivraj Singh Chauhan came to know of the more pressing engagement of his home minister; so he decided to visit the hospital himself. Such an accident in the State capital on the eve of the Independence Day is considered particularly bad by the politicians in power.
Uma Shankar Gupta, a nephew of illustrious BJP leader Narayan Prasad Gupta (who has lived all his life in exemplary austerity), had a good image when Sunderlal Patwa had appointed him chairman of the State Civil Supplies Corporation. Later he became Mayor of Bhopal Municipal Corporation (BMC) but did not allow his image to be dented beyond reasonable limits. However, as minister of transport and Bhopal Gas Disaster Relief and Rehabilitation in the Babulal Gaur government, Gupta had in no time earned the notoriety for his insatiable greed for money.
Shivraj Singh Chauhan did not include him in his first cabinet supposedly for his proximity to Gaur. It was a melancholy period for Gupta who started spending much of his time in the pursuit of the ‘spirits’ in the company of his close and reliable friends. Slowly he emerged from his quiescence and started wooing Chauhan while distancing himself from Gaur at the same time. Once he had humbled himself enough before Chauhan, the latter re-inducted him into his cabinet, in the hope of countering the influence and popularity of Gaur in Bhopal. (Gaur continues to take interest in the affairs of Bhopal irrespective of what department he is holding or what district has been placed under his charge).
Whether Gupta will ever be able to encroach upon Gaur’s popularity in Bhopal is a matter for speculation. He has, however, carved his own “constituency” in the world of crime and criminals. As home minister, he got an excellent opportunity of using the police to help his constituents. It is not common for a citizen to come out openly against the home minister and police under the present system of police administration. But then, the things go sometimes beyond a person’s endurance.
Such a hapless person happened to be Monu Koshalesh of Panchnagar (Bhopal) locality. Pappu Parve, with a police record but enjoying the protection of Uma Shankar Gupta, was said to have fired on Sajid, a friend of Monu Koshalesh. A case under Section 307 IPC (attempt to murder) was registered at the T.T.Nagar police station. Monu Koshalesh was mentioned as the eye-witness to the incident of firing.
While Sajid was recovering at a private hospital, three police officers, Additional Superintendent of Police Ruchi Shrivastava, Deputy Superintendent of Police Gopal Khandel and police station in-charge Umesh Tiwari, approached Monu Koshalesh to ask him to desist from giving evidence against Pappu Parve when the case came up for hearing in the court. As Monu said that he could not betray his friend (Sajid), Monu was taken to the T.T.Nagar police station and given a strong dose of the police medicine which resulted in his spending the next three days in a hospital.
Monu Koshalesh later submitted a written complaint to the Director-General of Police, giving all the details, with copies marked to the Inspector General of Police and the Superintendent of Police of Bhopal. The hospital papers about his treatment for the police “medicine “were attached.
One wonders if the home minister will strive to arouse the conscience of these police officers also, which still remains dormant. In any case, Monu Koshalesh has taken his complaint to the court and summons have been issued to the police officers involved.
The crimes in the State, meanwhile, continue to rise at an alarming speed. The National Commission for Women (NCW) accords the dubious honour on Madhya Pradesh for being number one in the matter of crimes against women — followed by Delhi, Rajasthan and Haryana.