MP minister, supporters take away seized machine, vehicle

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Indore, Jan 12 (PTI) Madhya Pradesh minister Usha Thakur led a group of supporters who barged into a forest department office and forcibly took away an earth moving machine and a tractor-trolley seized for illegal digging in a protected area near here, an official alleged on Tuesday.

Thakur and her supporters, numbering around 20, also allegedly threatened the staff at the forest office in Badgonda in Indore district on Sunday evening, he said.

Badgonda forest range official Ramsuresh Dube said he had submitted a complaint in connection with the alleged incident, but it has not been acknowledged yet by the police station concerned.

Badgonda is part of the Mhow assembly seat represented by Thakur, who holds the culture portfolio.

An earth moving machine and a tractor-trolley were seized under relevant provisions of the Indian Forest Act on January 10 as they were deployed for illegal excavation and making a road without permission on reserved forest land.

'After seizing the machine and the tractor-trolley, forest staffers had kept them in the Badgonda forest office premises,' Dube told reporters.

But, the states culture minister along with her supporters entered the Badgonda office premises and forcibly took away the machine and the tractor-trolley after threatening the forest staff, he alleged.

Efforts to contact Thakur on the issue proved futile and one of her assistants said she was away in Kerala.

Badgonda police station in-charge Ajit Singh Bais claimed he has no knowledge of any complaint against Thakur and her supporters on the issue. PTI HWP MAS RSY RSY