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Al-Amas Trading Establishment Company of Saudi Arabia has filed a case of breaking agreement against the U.P. state welfare minister for Hajj, Raja Ghazanfar Ali Khan which has placed the Ministry of External Affairs and the Central Hajj Committee (CHC) in a piquant position. This case has been registered in a Saudi court against Ghazanfar for breaking the agreement of Hajj pilgrims’ board management. The said company has claimed one hundred thousand Saudi riyals from the U.P. State Hajj Committee for breach of contract. After the case being registered, the Saudi Arabian authorities have issued notices to the Indian ministry of external affairs and the CHC to respond to the matter. 

The matter came to light after the under secretary of the Hajj ministry, Ujagar Singh, informed the UP state Hajj committee at Lucknow about the case filed by the Saudi company. The chairman of the State Hajj Committee has been asked to immediately send his representative to the Saudi Arab court in order to file his reply.

According to available information, Raja Ghazanfar, the president of the State Hajj Committee and state welfare minister for minorities, had concluded an agreement with Al-Amas Establishment stipulating that the company will provide meals to 15,000 Hajj pilgrims from U.P. at the rate of 18.78 riyals per Haji. The agreement included a clause that the party breaking the agreement will pay one hundred thousand Saudi riyals as penalty. The agreement also said that every legal matters arising out of the agreement will be settled in a Saudi Arabian court only. The Hajj Committee’s chairman Ghazanfar Ali and the chairman of the Al-Amas company, Al Mansoor Umar Shaikh, had signed this agreement on 19 September 1998. When the Hajis came to know about the agreement, they protested. Opposition leaders in Lucknow also objected saying that the Hajis cannot be forced to have meals from a certain com-pany only. In the face of the mounting objection, the U.P. Hajj committee unilaterally cancelled the agreement simply by issuing a public statement on 14 October 1998. But that statement was not enough to cancel the agreement with the Saudi company. The issue was also raised in the UP legislative assembly where Raja Ghazanfar denied any such agreement. Though there were documented proofs of the agreement which also includes photographs of the agreement signing ceremony. Now, when the matter has come to light, the UP State Hajj Committee officials are anxious to save their minister from disgrace. 


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