Haryana’s outspoken Health and Sports Minister Anil Vij on Friday ordered a woman police officer to “get out” of a meeting. When she refused, he himself stormed out of the room in a huff.
The outburst came after both were locked in an argument over liquor smuggling in Fatehabad district.
Vij walked out of the meeting after Fatehabad district police chief Sangeeta Kalia, an Indian Police Service officer whom he ordered to “get out”, refused to leave. Fatehabad is 225 km from Chandigarh.
When she was yelled at, Sangeeta demanded to know “why” she needed to leave, and told him: “I am not leaving.”
The officer, seated next to the infuriated minister, stood her ground over the issue of liquor smuggling and the alleged police role in it.
When the minister alleged that the smuggling was happening with police patronage, Sangeeta said: “This is wrong. You cannot say this.”
The minister, who was attending a meeting public grievances’ committee, of which he is chairman, had asked the officer what she was doing to curb liquor smuggling in areas bordering Punjab.
“We are taking action. We have registered over 2,500 cases. Many of these people come out on bail and indulge in smuggling again,” Sangeeta told the minister.
However, the minister kept arguing. He appeared to suggest that she was responsible for the lack of action against the smugglers.
When Sangeeta objected to this, Vij asked her to leave the meeting.
Vij left the meeting in disgust and later said he would not come to Fatehabad as long as Sangeeta was stationed there.
“I will not come here again as long as she is the SP here. I will complain to the chief minister. Her attitude is not good. I had taken up the matter with her two or three times but her approach was very casual,” Vij told the media.
Deputy Commissioner N.K. Solanki and other district officers were present at the meeting but none intervened.
Solanki followed the minister till his car and tried to stop him from leaving but the minister was adamant.
Sangeeta did not say much about the incident and drove away after the meeting.
Asked by the media for her reaction, Sangeeta said in Hindi: “There is nothing to say… You know everything.”
Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar said: “I have to get a report (on the incident). After that we will take action.”