ROURKELA: Rural Development Minister Sushant Singh’s vehicle was reportedly detained and his driver assaulted at Masnikani toll gate of Biju Expressway while he was on his way to the district headquarters town in the intervening night of Saturday and Sunday.
While police are tight-lipped about the incident which occurred under Bhasma police limits, BJD sources informed that the Minister was on his way to Sundargarh town to attend a function of the Government College.
At around 1.30 am, his vehicle was detained at the toll gate for collection of toll fee. The Minister’s driver asked the toll gate staff to allow passage but the latter insisted on payment of toll fee.Soon an argument ensued and Singh came out of the vehicle to intervene. Around a dozen toll gate employees allegedly manhandled the driver and tore his shirt.
Since the Sundargarh district administration had not provided the vehicle number carrying the Minister, it could not have been allowed passage without payment of the fee.
Sources informed that the Minister was detained for around 50 minutes till police reached the spot and detained a few staff of the toll gate for questioning. The infuriated Minister was later taken to Sundargarh Circuit House. Finance Minister Niranjan Pujari, also scheduled to attend the college function, reached the Circuit House to pacify Singh.
Later, Sundargarh Collector Nikhil Pawan Kalyan was summoned to the Circuit House where Pujari asked him for a detailed inquiry and appropriate action against the culprits.Sources said, the toll gate employees avoid collecting fees from certain vehicles whose registration numbers are mentioned in their records.
While Sundargarh SP Soumya Mishra refused to comment on the matter, a senior police officer said a case has been registered with Bhasma police basing on a complaint filed by the Minister’s driver. Investigation is underway and police are analysing the CCTV footage of the toll gate.