A contractor and a Central Public Works Department (CPWD) engineer were allegedly detained against their will at the residence of Minister of State (MoS) for Health and Family Welfare Anupriya Patel on Saturday over delay in renovation of her office.
Sources said the minister’s husband, Ashish Singh, allegedly misbehaved with the contractor and the engineer over a delay in laying of tiles and later her staff allegedly locked them up in a room for close to an hour. The MoS could not be reached for comment, but her political secretary, Anurag Patel, said the allegations were “baseless and false”.
Singh was quoted by ANI as saying, “I am not the in-charge of the bungalow and I was inside. When I came out, the workers were being scolded by the staff of the minister for delaying the work. If somebody thinks that we held them captive, then they can take legal action against us.” According to sources, the contractor and engineer had gone to the minister’s residence, at C1/29 Pandara Park, in the morning to oversee the renovation.
“The tiles of their choice were expected to be delivered on Saturday, but, unfortunately, that didn’t happen. When he (Singh) was informed about this, he misbehaved with the officials and locked them up in a room. The detained officials called for help on phone. Assistant Engineer Ajmer Singh and Executive Engineer Sudhir Tripathi reached the minister’s house to set them free,” a source told The Indian Express.
Ajmer Singh and Tripathi confirmed to The Indian Express the incident had occurred, but did not wish to comment further. The contractor and CPWD engineer filed complaints against the minister’s husband at Tughlakabad police station . Romil Baaniya, Additional DCP (New Delhi District), said they received two separate complaints from the engineer and the contractor, but no FIR had been registered yet. “We are examining the matter and will act accordingly,” he said.
The office renovation was undertaken a little over two weeks ago following her promotion as MoS in July. ‘They want to defame her because elections in UP are approaching’ The minister’s political secretary said, “Those who do not like her becoming a minister are trying to defame her. We face issues in constituency too. They want to defame her because elections in UP are approaching.” He was not willing to identify those trying to “defame” the minister, who is the Lok Sabha MP from Mirzapur constituency in Uttar Pradesh.
He added, “… The contractor had said he would complete the construction work by September 7. Today, we again told him that he should finish the work fast because we were facing a lot of problems. This is all that happened,” he told The Indian Express.