Never offend an officer, let alone his wife - a local vegetable vendor learnt this bitter truth the hard way.
On Wednesday morning, Inderbir Kaur, wife of Ludhiana municipal commissioner Malwinder Singh Jaggi, allegedly visited a vegetable vendor in Dandi Swami Chowk in Ludhiana. Since Jaggi has served on various posts in the city over the past decade, his wife has been an old customer, according to area vendors.
Trouble began when Sukhbir, who was at the vend in the absence of his uncle Pal, asked Inderbir to pay for the vegetables. As per Sukhbir, the MC commissioner's wife shot back, "Don't you know me?
I will teach you a lesson." He alleged that she also chided him for not keeping the vegetables in her vehicle.
Pal had gone to visit his married daughter at a local hospital.
Barely an hour later, a squad of the municipal corporation's teh bazaari wing arrived at the spot and reportedly threw the vegetables on the road and ransacked the vend.
Corporation workers returned on Thursday and forced the vendor to shut down the vend. Sukhbir claimed that they warned him not to open it till he apologised.
"For the third consecutive day on Friday, the corporation workers not only destroyed the vegetables by throwing them on the road but also said that you just have one day and if you do not apologise, your vend will be bulldozed by Saturday morning," said Pal.
Pal said, "I have three daughters and two sons and this vegetable shop is the bread earner of my family. But I couldn't sell anything because of the callous attitude of the commissioner's wife and have suffered a loss of Rs 50,000 in the past three days."
Did not order demolition: MC commissioner
When contacted, MC commissioner Malwinder Singh Jaggi denied ordering the demolition of the vend. "The teh bazaari wing did go to the area, but not on my orders. This is a case of mistaken identity. There are several commissioners posted in this city," he said.
His wife said, "I have been going to the vend for the past 10 years, but I have never even inquired about the rates of vegetables. It's my driver that pays for the items. I did not have any argument. It is baseless allegation as and it must be a case of mistaken identity."