UP minister turns grabbed land into cremation ground

The minister has also reportedly built a hotel on a part of the cremation land situated at Barhalganj near the  bank of the Rapti river, considered to be sacred in the eastern regions of the state.

A complaint against Minister for Religious Works, Rajesh Tripathi, has been lodged in this regard with the state Lokayukta N K Mehrotra, according to sources here.

It was alleged that the four-acre land, in the state’s Gorakhpur district, belonged to the Narcotics Department. The complaint alleged that Tripathi had opened a number of shops in the passage leading to the cremation ghat and also set up an office there, which was looked after by his goons.

Tripathi had also constructed a hotel on part of the cremation land, the complaint alleged. The minister’s goons allegedly charge Rs 150 in the name of registration before allowing a body to be consigned to flames at the ghat. A large number bodies are cremated on the ghat, according to reports.

The Lokayukta had summoned the minister a few days ago to explain and reply to the charges. During questioning, the minister reportedly admitted to many of the allegations.
Tripathi, also the president of the ‘Muktipath Seva Sanstan’, the organisation in possession of the cremation land, offered to resign from the post, sources said.

The Lokayukta office said a report on the whole issue would soon be sent to the state government for necessary action.

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