SP leader tells drivers to pay up

Wants protection money from them if they want to drive in Majhola

Police officials in Moradabad were shocked to hear a CD purportedly containing a conversation in which a senior SP leader told office-bearers of the local autorickshaw union to pay money to run their business.

SP leader Brijpal Singh, who is also a member of the local municipal corporation, was heard asking auto drivers to pay hafta (protection money) if they wanted to continue plying their vehicles at Majhola area of the town.

“The SP leader told the auto drivers to pay an entry fee of Rs 500, and a daily fee of Rs 320,” said a police official. When the auto union members threatened Singh that they will approach senior police officials, Singh told them that it won’t change anything.

“Singh told auto drivers that any complaint will only increase the hafta,” police said.
The auto drivers said Singh justified the ‘protection money’ as it will protect them from ‘extortion’ by police. The drivers had conducted a sting operation and recorded the conversation they had with Singh.

Police initially turned the other way after they came to know about the involvement of a ruling party leader, but later filed a case when the local media highlighted the matter. Some embarrassed SP leaders also intervened.

“The matter is being investigated and action will be taken against Singh if the allegations are found to be true,” said superintendent of police Mahendra Yadav.

SP leaders have in the past embarrassed the government and their party by their deeds. Many SP leaders had violated the law and had to be admonished by the party leadership.
SP chief Mulayam Singh Yadav had warned party leaders against breaking the law. The warning, it appears, has fallen on deaf ears.

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