Nagpur: Through fair and transparent process of tendering a person’s company wins the rights to run a toll post on a highway near Nagpur. Just 2-3 days later, he allegedly gets a call from a Saoner MLA threatening that his employees will not be allowed to run the toll post since it is “his area”.
There is more threatening talk; instances of how this powerful man has ‘compelled’ other contractors to give up their ‘nakas’ in favour of this man or his henchmen; finally Pravin Pandey, the Contractor in question agreed to relinquish his rights if he is compensated for his legitimate expenses. Naturally ( he says) he did not want to take ‘panga’ with a local powerful politician.
But even this fair request is not accepted; the toll booth opens and the threats start turning into action. Goons start turning up and harassing the toll booth employees; more threats are directed towards the contractor; he complains to the police but they take no action.
Finally, Pravin has to take the step of writing to the Prime Minister about the helpless situation he is in.
We reproduce the letter below. As readers can see, the MLA in question is Sunil Kedar, the only Congress MLA of Nagpur district.
Not only has he been elected multiple times himself, he is the only son of Babasaheb Kedar, a tall leader whose dict ran loud and clear over the domain of Agri Produce markets for many years.
Is he really resorting to such threats and demanding ‘hafta’ of Rs. 20 lakhs per month ( negotiable, according to the Contractor) or is Sunil Kedar being defamed?
We tried to talk to him for his version, but he chose to not take our calls or reply to our messages.
Pravin on the other hand says he has Whats app messages and recordings to prove his allegations.
“I would not have the courage to write to the PM otherwise… I am really at my wits end; I am a businessman, I just want to do my job in peace. Not only am I being threatened, I am being defamed too; accused of charging more toll than the stipulated amount; let them prove these allegations” says Pandey.
—Sunita Mudliar (Executive Editor)