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Ditta row family make a complaint to council
As previously reported, Mr Ditta threatened to dig up the body of Monuhor Ali during a row with his relatives over an unpaid bill.
Mr Ditta has apologised for the threat, but still claims that the family owe him £400 for work he carried out to line Mr Ali’s grave with bricks according to Islamic law at the city’s private Muslim cemetery. The family deny this saying that they lined the grave themselves.
During the dispute Mr Ditta was acting as a volunteer with the Worcester Muslim cemetery committee, but he is also a city councillor.
Now the family has submitted an official complaint to the city council. In the letter, Ruhal Hussain, the son of Mr Ali, writes: “Coun Ditta has brought his office into disrepute and is guilty of using threatening and bullying behaviour towards me and is demanding money I do not owe him.”
The letter goes on to say Mr Ditta had approached the family at the cemetery to ask for the cash on “several occasions” before the row escalated. It adds: “Since the incident, so as to avoid Coun Ditta, I have not visited my father’s grave during the day – I go in the evening when I know he will not be there.
“I remain very distressed by the incident and my mother, who thankfully did not witness what happened, is very upset. “My whole family, still the mourning the loss of the head of the household, has been very badly affected.” When told about the contents of the letter, Mr Ditta maintained he had carried out the work and stood by the bill. He has resisted calls from fellow councillors to quit his Cathedral seat and says he will carry on pursuing the cash. “Work was done on the grave and they still owe money,” he said. “I’m not going to be resigning.”
It is not clear if the complaint will fall under the council’s jurisdiction as Mr Ditta was not acting as a councillor at the time. But a spokesman for Worcester City Council said the authority’s monitoring officer, in conjunction with an independent assessor, would examine the complaint. They will decide whether or not it needs to be referred to the standards committee, which has powers to expel councillors. He said: “If it does get referred to the standards committee, witnesses will have to be called and the process could take a couple of months.”
The Muslim cemetery is leased by the city council to the Worcester Muslim Welfare Association.