UP Khadi Board official sacked for ‘assaulting’ photo-journalist

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Natvar Goyal, vice-chairman of Uttar Pradesh Khadi and Village Industries Board, was removed and expelled from the Samajwadi Party after he allegedly assaulted a photo-journalist on Tuesday. The photographer was reportedly taking pictures of an under-construction commercial complex being built by Goyal's firm in Qaiser Bagh police station area.

Goyal, his manager Ravi Singh, and associate Ali were booked for assault and robbery on the complaint of photographer Ashutosh Gupta, who works for a Hindi daily.

The newspaper had earlier published a story alleging that the complex was being built after moving a government-aided school without the permission of the district's basic education officer. Gupta said he had gone to take a picture of the complex, being built by Balaji Constructions, for a follow-up story when Goyal, Singh, Ali and some other persons caught him, dragged him inside their office, and assaulted him. Gupta claimed they snatched his gold chain and damaged his camera. The photographer added that when he called up a colleague, Harjinder Singh, for help, he too was assaulted.

Lucknow SSP R K Chaturvedi said the police have lodged an FIR on Gupta's complaint and were questioning Goyal. According to a late night report, Goyal was arrested. He was then admitted to Balrampur hospital after he complained of chest pain.

Goyal denied Gupta's allegations, saying that he was not at the construction site when the photographer reached there. He claimed that the trouble began when Gupta clicked a photo of his friend's daughter, and the girl objected. Goyal said he asked the photographer to delete the picture, but Gupta refused, called up his friends, and alleged that he had been assaulted.

Earlier this month, Minister of State for Revenue Vinod Kumar Singh alias Pandit Singh was removed after he allegedly barged into the house of Gonda Chief Medical Officer at night and threatened him to change the list of doctors for contractual appointments under NRHM.

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