Minister Pandit now demolishes shops, gets notice

Vinod Singh

Just a month after his reinduction in the government, Minister of State for Secondary Education Vinod Singh alias Pandit Singh is again in the news. This time, he has demolished two shops rented to him by Gonda Nagarpalika Parishad allegedly to build a passage for his own shopping complex.

The Nagarpalika Parishad has issued a notice to Pandit Singh, asking him to rebuild the two shops within one month or face legal action.

Pandit Singh had to resign as Minister of State for Revenue on October 12 last year in unsavoury circumstances after he allegedly forced his way into the residence of the Gonda CMO in the middle of the night, virtually abducted him, got his office opened, and tried to force him to change the list of AYUSH doctors who had been selected for contractual appointment under NRHM. On February 7, he was reinducted in the ministry.

The shops he has now demolished were situated in Raj Narain Pandey Market owned by the Nagarpalika Parishad. These were given on rent to Pandit Singh on January 17, 2005, during the previous SP regime when Mulayam Singh Yadav was the chief minister. Behind the market, Pandit Singh has constructed a big shopping complex. In order to ensure a passage to his shopping complex, Pandit Singh reportedly got the two shops demolished.

Rupesh Kumar Srivastava alias Nirmal, chairman of the Nagarpalika Parishad, said he had received a complaint from local traders about the demolition. "We conducted an inquiry, the revenue inspector and nazool official both were sent to the spot for inspection. They clearly stated in their report that two shops, number 31 and 32, had been demolished, the debris cleared and a road constructed," Rupesh said.

The Parishad chairman said the shops in the market had been given on rent to traders, including Pandit Singh, and they could not sell, sublet or demolish these. "Everything is written in the agreement and Pandit Singh had signed it," he said.

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