Uttar Pradesh orders enquiry against its minister


Lucknow : Already booked under the Dowry Prohibition Act, there seems to be no respite for the state Sports Minister Ayodhya Prasad Pal as the Uttar Pradesh government has also initiated an enquiry against him, sources said Friday.

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Now, the state government has directed the Local Intelligence Unit (LIU) to conduct a probe into the case in which a doctor Prabal Pratap had alleged that the minister called off his son’s marriage to his daughter because of inadequate dowry.

Earlier, on the directions of a chief judicial magistrate in Chitrakoot district, some 280 km from Lucknow, the police late Wednesday registered an FIR against the minister and his six family members for seeking dowry.

“As per the directions of the government, N.K. Singh, zonal officer of the special branch of LIU has been entrusted with the task of conducting the enquiry against the minister,” an LIU official told IANS, preferring anonymity.

“In fact, as a part of his initial enquiry, Singh has already collected expenditure bills, photographs of the ring ceremony and other documents pertaining to the engagement between the minister’s son and the doctor’s daughter,” he added.

Meanwhile, following court directions, the Chitrakoot Circle Officer (CO) has also initiated a police enquiry against the minister and his family members.

“We have recorded the statements of the girl’s family and will follow the same procedure for the minister and his family. More than this, we cannot disclose anything further related to the case which is still under investigation,” CO Udai Shanker told reporters Friday.

In its order, the court has directed the police to lodge an FIR against Ayodhya Prasad Pal, his son Om Dutt, brother Raj Kumar Pal, two daughters, the minister’s wife and his brother’s wife.

“My daughter got engaged to the minister’s son in October 2008, but the minister called off the marriage as I was unable to pay the Rs.5 million dowry he demanded,” said Pratap.

According to Pratap, the engagement ceremony took place Oct 7, 2008, at a tourist bungalow in Chitrakoot’s Karvi town. Since then, the minister has been delaying the marriage and is now demanding dowry.

“He (minister) now says the only way to get my daughter married to his son is to give Rs.50 lakh (Rs.5 million). The minister has even openly challenged me to get a case registered against him for demanding dowry,” Pratap told reporters.

“I have also learnt that the minister has now arranged his son’s marriage to the daughter of an engineer in the irrigation department in Allahabad,” he added.

According to Pratap, he had submitted necessary evidence to prove he had spent over Rs.500,000 on gifts that were given to Pal’s family at the engagement ceremony.