Driver's suicide bid triggers protest

Driver's suicide bid triggers protest


Protesting drivers block road near Vidhana Soudha. DH photoA R Anand Kumar, the car driver of the officer Rajeev Chawla has been admitted to a private hospital.

Lakshamma, the mother of Anandkumar, in her letter addressed to the Governor, accused Chawla of "forcing her son to resort to the extreme step". She alleged that Chawla labelled Anand as a thief and threatened to get him transferred to his native place Gulbarga. She added that Anand also wrote a letter before the  suicide bid.

"Last Saturday, Chawla's son Jayant gave me a pair of shoes and asked me to return it to a showroom on Brigade Road. I went there and took the money after returning the shoes. For the next two days, I couldn’t meet him as I was on leave. Today (Wednesday), I gave Rs 2,100 to Ishwar, another car driver to hand it over to Chawla. However, Chawla called me and sought an explanation saying the shoes’ price was Rs 3,120. He admonished me and termed me a thief saying I had misused the money. He also threatened to transfer me to Gulbarga or Raichur," Anand said in his letter. He also reportedly said that Chawla used to put him on duty for long hours and that he was finding it 'extremely difficult' to bear the latter’s harassment.

Allegations rubbished

Rajeev Chawla, on the other hand, rubbished the allegations saying that Anand had driven his car "only once or twice as he is not my regular driver". Terming Anand as a "nice person", he said that some unscrupulous elements in the Revenue Department were trying to bring disrepute to him as he had brought many land reforms in the State. “When he told me that he didn't count the money while taking it at the shop, I got angry and asked how he could not count the amount. The allegation that I threatened to transfer him is baseless," he told Deccan Herald. "A light rebuke is hardly any provocation for taking such an extreme step," he maintained.

Asked to go on leave

Chief Secretary S V Ranganath is learnt to have asked Chawla to go on leave following protests from the drivers. The Chief Minister, after meeting the protesting drivers, had directed the CS to take an appropriate step against the officer.

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