Minister-woman officer spat echoes in Haryana assembly

Chandigarh, Nov 30 (IANS) A spat between Haryana minister Anil Vij and woman IPS officer Sangeeta Kalia over liquor smuggling echoed in the assembly on Monday, with the Congress and the INLD demanding that the officer’s transfer be cancelled and action taken against the minister.

The issue, raised during zero hour by Congress legislator Geeta Bhukkal, led to heated arguments between members of the Congress and of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party.

Opposition leaders tried to give the spat a caste and gender colour as Kalia is a Dalit and a woman. Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar said that nothing on these lines should be read into the incident.

Khattar defended Vij and said the minister was not wrong.

The chief minister said the transfer of the woman officer, just a day after the spat with the minister, should not be seen as a punishment.

Vij, the health and sports minister, defended his position against the IPS officer, saying she had threatened the NGO which complained about police inaction against the liquor smuggling mafia in his presence at a meeting in Fatehabad.

“The entire episode was not shown. Only a portion was shown. The SP (superintendent of police) had threatened the NGO in my presence when they complained about police inaction against liquor smuggling,” Vij pointed out even as he was interrupted by Congress members.

The minister said “half facts” were “dangerous”, and presented a detailed account of what happened at the meeting and said he had the complete video footage of the meeting.

Vij said a case could be registered against the police superintendent as she threatened the NGO members.

Vij left the meeting on Friday in a huff after he ordered Kalia to “get out” but she refused and stay put.

Vij, known to be an upright and outspoken minister, got annoyed as Kalia defended police on the issue of liquor smuggling.

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