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Citizens Protest Transfer of SP Who Took on Mining Mafia in MP

Locals protesting the transfer of SP Gaurav Tiwari in Katni, Madhya Pradesh. Photo: Vivek Trivedi

Katni: People have taken to the streets in Madhya Pradesh’s Katni district of Madhya Pradesh have taken to the streets to protest the ‘improper’ transfer of Superintendent of Police Gaurav Tiwari.

Tiwari is popular in the district because he allegedly exposed a multi-crore Axis Bank scam and took on the local mining mafia.

The demonstrators alleged that Tiwari was removed as he was trying to expose corruption.

Youths took out a bike rally while traders kept their establishments closed on the consecutive second day on Wednesday. Similar scenes were seen on Tuesday when a large number of people held a protest rally, opposing the transfer. Some protestors have even threatened to immolate themselves if the transfer is not stopped.
Locals have vowed to write to Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the matter. Sources told Pradesh18 that the PMO has sought details of this episode.

Protesters directed their anger at state minister Sanjay Pathak who is from the district, and have demanded his removal from Shivraj Chouhan’s government. Pathak is being seen as the man behind the SP’s ouster.

Tiwari was shifted to Chhindwara and was replaced by Dewas SP Shashikant Shukla who was earlier posted at the Chief Minister’s house.

State home minister Bhupendra Singh on Tuesday had termed Tiwari’s removal as ‘routine process’.

The 2010-batch IPS officer was appointed SP barely six months ago. He struck a chord with the public in no time as he cracked down on liquor and mining mafia in the district. Tiwari rose to limelight further as he stumbled upon an Axis Bank hawala scam in the district.

Prior to this, Tiwari had hit headlines for anti-naxal operations and crackdown on timber mafia when he was posted in Balghat.

A billionaire, Pathak won assembly poll on Congress ticket in 2013 but later joined BJP and was re-elected in by-poll from Vijayraghavgarh in Katni. His entry into the BJP and subsequently in the cabinet had as minister of state with independent charge had courted sizable controversy due to his alleged role in illegal mining operations in Katni.

These protests could mean trouble for Chouhan’s popularity as he prepares for state elections in 2017.