A security guard at Samakhiyali toll plaza on National Highway 8A in Kutch lodged a police complaint alleging that convoy of around 15 vehicles of AAP did not pay toll tax during the party chief Arvind Kejriwal's visit to the district. However, the party said it had instructions from police not to stop midway hence could not pay the toll, but police rebutted the charge.
Gujarat police officials were also told that Arvind Kejriwal enjoys Z plus security.
Dipendra Tomar, a private security guard at the toll plaza lodged a complaint at Samakhiyali police station at 10:30 pm on Thursday. In his complaint, the guard said that drivers of 10 to 15 cars of AAP did not pay toll tax of Rs50 each on March 6 when they drove through the toll gate. The incident had taken place between 4 pm and 4:30 pm that day.
In Patan district, in a copycat case, a security supervisor of Varahi toll plaza, Mukeshdan Gadhvi lodged an FIR with Varahi police station against unidentified drivers of vehicles who crossed the toll plaza without paying taxes. The FIR states that there were people sitting in open jeeps holding banners of Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) on March 5. According to police sub-inspector NJ Jadeja, who is investigating the case, the men driving the vehicles are difficult to identify. The CCTV footage also doesn't identify the persons sitting in the jeeps except the banners and brooms, which had symbols of AAP.
Patan Superintendent of Police Parikshita Rathod said that the security supervisor had first moved an applications in this regard and after investigating the allegation an FIR was lodged on Thursday.
The FIRs allege violation of a notification of National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) mandating vehicle drivers to pay stipulate toll taxes. The drivers have been booked under Section 188 (disobedience to order duly promulgated by public servant) of the Indian Penal Code. The Section provides for imprisonment of up to six months and fine of up to Rs 2,000 to those found guilty.
"We have sought footage of CCTV cameras installed at the toll plaza and are also gathering other evidence. No detention or arrests have been made so far, Samakhiyali police sub-inspector Ashok Makwana said.
Incidentally, this is second case with respect Arvind Kejriwal's day-long trip to Kutch. Gandhidham police had booked the former Delhi chief minister and five other AAP workers on March 6 after they allegedly used loud-speaker without requisite permission and thereby breaching notification of district magistrate.
However, Gujarat AAP said they could not pay toll tax as police had instructed them not to stop midway. Anirudh Jadeja, AAP organiser for Gujarat said: We are law abiding citizens and we had paid toll tax on the first day of the tour. But in Kutch, we had strict instructions from police not to stop midway to avoid trouble. As we approached the toll plaza, gates of emergency lane were opened and we passed through. They (police) had made prior arrangement.
Duttesh Bhavsar, AAP coordinator for Kutch district said, Police had asked us to follow them. Two police cars were leading us and we just followed them. Why nobody stopped us Bhavsar, who was piloting Arvind Kejriwal's convoy said. He alleged that the complaint was motivated and was aimed at demoralising AAP workers ahead of the Lok Sabha elections.
The alleged incident had happened when Arvind Kejriwal was on his way to Maliya-Miyana in Morbi district from Kutch. Bhavsar further said that they had not paid toll tax at Surajbari toll plaza near Maliya-Miyana also. However, on our way back Bhuj after dropping Kejriwal to Maliya, we paid toll at both points, Bhavsar added.
Incidentally, Arvind Kejriwal was accorded Z category security after his car was attacked by a mob in Kharoi village in Bhachau taluka on March 5 evening.
However, Kutch East police refuted AAP claim of any instructions. We cannot and did not passed any instructions of not stopping midway. They were stopping midway anyway. Our job was to provide them security. This is a matter of common sense. If I am travelling in a bus, do I need to tell fellow passengers to buy tickets Kutch East DSP Deepak Meghani told The Indian Express.