BJP MP Ram Shankar Katheria has been a controversial leader and was booked by the UP Police in April for allegedly assaulting a police officer.(HT FILE PHOTO)
Barely three days after Prime Minister Narendra Modi warned the BJP that violent behaviour by its lawmakers was unacceptable following an assault by Indore MLA Aaskh Vijayvargiya on a civic officer, bodyguards of BJP MP Ram Shankar Katheria allegedly thrashed toll plaza employees and fired in the air after an argument in Agra early Saturday.
The assault was caught on the toll plaza’s CCTV cameras but Katheria has denied any wrongdoing and said it was toll plaza staff which attacked his security guards who then opened fire in self defence.
Katheria, who is Lok Sabha MP from Etawah, was also present at the spot, toll plaza staffers said. He had been an MP from Agra twice. He is also the chairman of National Commission for Scheduled Castes
He was returning from Delhi and was crossing toll plaza at Rehan Kala in Etmadpur area of Agra district at about 3 am on Saturday. He was reportedly travelling with his wife when the incident happenedOnePlus 7 Pro (Nebula Blue, 12GB RAM, 256GB Storage)
The toll plaza staff claimed that trouble began after they asked drivers in Katheria’s cavalcade to exit in a proper queue so that the boom barrier does not fall on any of the vehicles but the MP’s staff got down and thrashed them.
A member of Katheria’s security staff is also seen in the video firing in the air.
#WATCH Agra: Security Personnel of BJP MP and Chairman of National Commission for Scheduled Castes Ram Shankar Katheria, thrash toll plaza employees and fire in the air after an argument. Katheria was also present at the spot pic.twitter.com/W8g5Wo4bN6— ANI UP (@ANINewsUP) July 6, 2019
Anupam Singh, a member of the toll plaza staff has lodged complaint at Etmadpur police station.
“It was around 3.45 am on Saturday when the cavalcade of Katheria reached the toll plaza but there was no prior information about his arrival there. Beside the MP’s vehicle, there were five other cars and a bus in his convoy, but they did not pass through the VIP lane,” Singh said in his complaint.
“Our in-charge requested them to drive pass the vehicles in the cavalcade one by one because the barrier falls every time a car passes and might damage the wind screen of the vehicles. But the MP’s security staff chose to thrash our in-charge instead of paying heed to his request. Seeing this, the other staffers of the MP also joined in and threatened to shoot the plaza employees….one of his security guards opened fire while the others with him thrashed us badly with batons. There were injuries to three toll plaza employees and all is recorded in CCTV cameras,’ Singh said.
Agra’s senior superintendent police (SSP) Babloo Kumar said, “A case has been registered under relevant sections and CCTV footages were being examined to identify those guilty of thrashing the toll plaza employees.”
“We are watching the CCTV footages made available to us and identifying those involved in attack on the toll plaza employees. Action will follow and arrests would be made if required,” stated the SSP when asked if Katheria was named in FIR.
Katheria said that it was not his security staff which went for offensive but it was toll plaza staff which attacked his security guards. “My car crossed toll plaza but when car of my security men too crossed with mine, the toll plaza staff rushed towards them with batons in hand and attacked,” said Katheria.
“The lathi wielding staff from toll plaza then moved towards me in aggressive manner when I stopped and came out of car to see what had happened. At this point my security guard fired in self defence. The toll plaza staff has filed false complaint and there was no bus in my cavalcade,” the MP added.
Katheria has been a controversial leader. In April, the Uttar Pradesh police had lodged an FIR against him, two party MLAs and 17 others for allegedly assaulting a police sub-inspector during a public meeting in Patthra area of Etawah in the run up to the general elections.-ht