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UP minister fined for travelling without ticket
Sharat Pradhan in Lucknow | September 16, 2006 21:47 IST
Uttar Pradesh Minorities Welfare Minister Haji Yaqoob Quraishi who shot into fame for declaring a whopping bounty of Rs 51 crores on the head of the Danish cartoonist who drew some allegedly blasphemous sketches of Prophet Mohammed, is in the news once again.
This time, he was himself at the receiving end -- caught travelling without a ticket on the New Delhi-Lucknow Mail on Saturday.
Quraishi was travelling with six other persons with him in the First AC cabin of the prestigious train -- all without tickets. A total fine of Rs 14,056 was realised from him for all seven WT passengers.
According to a railway spokesman, "The minister boarded the train at Hapur station on Friday night and forced himself into a First AC coupe; when the travelling ticket examiner asked him for the ticket, he claimed that he had one but refused to show the same."
Shortly thereafter, he bolted his compartment and refused to respond to repeated requests of the TTE for the ticket.
"Eventually, when the matter was reported over the telephone to higher authorities in Lucknow, a special ticket checking squad was detailed to check the defiant ticketless travellers," the official said. "When the minister finally opened the compartment at Lucknow's suburban Alamnagar railway station on Saturday morning, we discovered as many as six other ticketless passengers with him," he added.
Railway officials and eyewitnesses alleged that the minister was furious at the railway staff. "You are a man of the RSS that is why you are framing me; I am a minister and therefore entitled to travel free; I will teach you a lesson of your life," he warned the checking staff.
Later when contacted, Lucknow's Additional Divisional Railway Manager Rajendra Singh said, "Ministers are entitled to travel against High Official Requisition, but it has to be necessarily converted into a ticket for which there is no exemption for anyone." He said, "Even though the minister claimed to be carrying the HOR, he had no ticket; and in any case the six persons accompanying him had no ticket at all."
It may be recalled that after declaring the Rs 51 crore bounty on the Danish cartoonist's head, Quraishi later decided to make a compromise to save the cartoonist his head provided the cartoonist tendered an unconditional apology. When the apology was also not forthcoming, he decided to give it up as the issue had by then been forgotten.
Of late, he has been spewing venom against his own Chief Minister Mulayam Singh Yadav whom he has been accusing of "neglecting Muslims".