Mysterious death of MP government official
Posted September 24, 2009on:
The death of a senior official under hitherto unexplained circumstances and equally inexplicable behaviour of a crony of Sushma Swaraj have once again exposed the murky side of the Shivraj Singh Chauhan government. Following endorsement from Madhya Pradesh chief minister Shivraj Singh Chauhan, Uttar Pradesh chief minister Mayawati has asked the CBI to investigate the case. The body of the official was found in Uttar Pradesh near the railway track, off Agra.
Madan Gopal Rusiya, 56,was the chief executive officer (CEO) of Bhopal Development Authority (BDA). Having started his career as naib tehsildar, Rusiya was promoted as tehsildar and deputy collector in which capacity he was posted in different parts of the State. He was nazool officer of Bhopal and also served as under secretary in the chief minister’s secretariat— during the term of Babulal Gaur and in the early period of the present chief minister. He was appointed CEO of BDA in mid-2007. Rusiya was considered a sort of wizard in revenue matters.
The BDA has prepared a plan for development of new colonies near Bhopal and those whose land is going to be acquired include Jitendra Daga, BJP MLA from Huzur, one of the Bhopal constituencies. Daga had reportedly found the BDA terms for acquiring his land not to his liking and had been trying to get the terms altered. According to BDA’s land acquisition officer Shriram Tiwari, the BDA had earmarked 13 places for various projects; the lands to be acquired for development of the second and third phases of Vidya Nagar consisted a little over 18 acres of Daga’s land. The BDA rate for acquiring this land was around Rs 1.5 crore per acre. Daga had been trying desperately to save this land and had used his top-level connections to exert pressure on the BDA, Tiwari said. Daga had submitted to the BDA a map of his own, asking the BDA to prepare his blueprints accordingly. Rusiya was the biggest stumbling block.
Then Daga wanted Rusiya to talk to his lawyer in Delhi which the latter appeared to have flatly declined. Rusiya was said to have been prevailed upon by BDA chairman Surendra Nath Singh and virtually ordered to accompany Daga to Delhi. Whether it was done under the advice of chief minister Shivraj Singh Chauhan is not clear but it was a strange case of a senior government official being “ordered” to do the bidding of the party functionary to serve the latter’s interest.
The two flew to Delhi on Thursday (September 10) morning and were scheduled to fly back the same evening. However, Daga was said to have told Rusiya in Delhi that the evening flight had been cancelled; the two, accordingly, boarded the AC coach of the Hazrat Nizamuddin-Habibganj Express the same night. Daga was to get down at Bhopal main station and Rusiya was to go up to Habibganj, according to Daga. When Daga got ready to get down at Bhopal, he saw that the bag and shoes of Rusiya were there near his berth but Rusiya was not present. “Presuming” that Rusiya might have gone to the toilet, he did not give it a second thought and headed for his mansion-like home near Bhopal airport.
Rusiya’s family members, who had come to the Habibganj station to receive him, were shocked to see Rusiya’s bag and shoes without Rusiya and were aghast at Daga’s attitude. They lodged a “missing” complaint with the railway police. Rusiya’s mobile, which had not functioned throughout the day, became operative towards evening when some passers-by informed the callers that a body had been lying near the railway track, some 30 kms south of Agra. The Agra railway police took the body in its possession the same night and a post mortem examination was conducted by a panel of three doctors at the Agra Medical College the following day.
A three-member railway police team from Uttar Pradesh spent two days in Bhopal in connection with the investigation of the case. The highlight of the team’s Bhopal visit was the early morning call at Daga’s mansion even as the BJP MLA was still asleep. The police party woke him up and questioned him in a closed room for three hours; the entire proceeding was videotaped.
Those who had tried to pressurise the BDA into changing the plans to suit Daga’s interests reportedly included veteran BJP leader Sushma Swaraj. Daga, never known as political activist, is the right-hand man of Sushma Swaraj; in fact, Sushma had made it a prestige point when the party had expressed its inability to field Daga from Huzur in the last Assembly elections as Shivraj Singh Chauhan had already made the commitment to Bhagwandas Sabnani whom the chief minister had lured away from Uma Bharati’s Bharatiya Jana Shakti (BJS). Chauhan had, however, to suffer humiliation under Sushma’s “tiriya hath”.
Incidentally, Sushma Swaraj’s assets have multiplied manifold in a span of three years. In the affidavit she had filed at the time of filing nomination for Rajya Sabha in March 2006, Sushma and her dependants had around 930 grams of gold; by the time she had filed another affidavit for the 2009 Lok Sabha election, the quantity of the gold jewellery had gone up to 2005 grams. She had, besides, acquired during the three years a Mercedes Benz, lent Rs 2.14 crore to her husband and children and added to her property a flat in Mumbai (Rs 1,38,91,151 paid till date).