I-T raids expose BJP government of Madhya Pradesh
Posted July 24, 2012on:
The Income Tax Department raids on the establishments of Dilip Suryavanshi and Sudhir Sharma spread over several cities in and out of Madhya Pradesh is the worst thing that could have happened to the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and, in particular, to Madhya Pradesh chief minister Shivraj Singh Chauhan. According to the tit-bits leaked out to the media, the raids have yielded much more than cash and jewellery and papers of land ownership. If the Central government does not enter into a deal somewhere on the way, as it had done in the past with Mayawati, Mulayam Singh Yadav and others, the recoveries can expose the darkest aspects of our democracy.
For instance, official note sheets pertaining to the transfers of senior bureaucrats and files of sensitive construction projects have been found in the papers of Suryavanshi. This, though, has not come as a surprise to those who have been keeping a watch on the functioning of the Chauhan government. When Chauhan became chief minister in late 2005, the charge of the government had, for all practical purpose, passed on to the chief minister’s wife Sadhna Singh Chauhan and Dilip Suryavanshi, then a mere contractor. Today he is The Contractor with a control over all the legal and illegal construction works as well as the mining activities in the State. Babulal Gaur, the seniormost member of the Chauhan cabinet had some time back described Suryavanshi as the biggest contractor with a turnover of Rs 2000 crore. Today Suryavanshi is said to be worth Rs 5000 crore. The combined turnover of Suryavanshi and Sudhir Sharma is said to exceed Rs 9000 crore.
It was said that the lists of IAS and IPS officers for posting at key positions were prepared by Sadhna Singh and Suryavanshi with the help of a trusted middle-rung IAS officer and the chief minister was then called to Suryavanshi’s mansion to put in his signature. The practice had become so scandalous that some senior BJP leaders were said to have drawn the attention of Lal Krishna Advani (then BJP president) towards this and the latter had taken Chauhan to task. The practice was then slightly changed; Suryavanshi would then go to the chief minister’s residence and he and Sadhna Singh would prepare the lists. At some stage, Sadhna Singh’s brother Sanjay Singh was said to have been involved in the process.
This was all in the realm of hearsay so far. The recovery of the confidential government note sheets and files in the possession of a private person with business interests in the government works amounts to the most glaring breach of the provisions of the Constitution.
College lecturer Sudhir Sharma was the ‘find’ of culture and public relations minister Laxmikant Sharma who held mining department during Chauhan’s first tenure. The minister was overawed by the enormity of the wealth that could be siphoned off from the mining operations. As the things started getting hot for him, he gradually inducted Sudhir Sharma as his proxy into the mining operations. The affinity between Laxmikant Sharma and Sudhir Sharma can be gauged from the fact that the Income Tax Department recovered from Sudhir Sharma’s residence an Italian pistol while the licence of the pistol is in the name of Laxmikant Sharma.
Sudhir Sharma in no time ganged up with Dilip Suryavanshi, the bigger operator. Chauhan made S K Mishra secretary to the mining department (as well as secretary to the chief minister) and placed him at their disposal. As Collector of Sehore, S K Mishra was appointed Returning Officer for Budhni by-election from where Chauhan contested and entered the Assembly after becoming the chief minister. (He was a member of Lok Sabha when appointed chief minister). Mishra had so much displeased the Election Commission by his partisan behaviour during the by-election that the Commission was constrained to order his immediate removal. This was perhaps the first case in the country when a Returning Officer had to be removed for wrong doing just a few days before the polling. This, though, paid dividends to the offending Sehore Collector. As soon as the model code period was over, he was made Collector of Bhopal (a highly coveted posting) and appointed soon afterwards secretary to the chief minister, later made mining secretary as well as secretary to the chief minister. Mishra was removed from this post following the countrywide outrage at the trampling down of IPS officer Narendra Kumar Singh under the wheels of a tractor trolley transporting illegally mined stones in Morena district. (Narendra Kumar Singh’s father has pointed out serious flaws in the CBI investigation of the case and moved the court seeking a fresh investigation).
On the basis of the papers recovered from Dilip Suryavanshi’s mansion ( the reports said that the recovered documents were carried in 20 trunks), the Income Tax Department carried raids on the residence of Harish Singh, a long-time associate of Shivraj Singh Chauhan and now his private secretary. Harish Singh’s disproportionate assets apart, some documents recovered from his residence may reportedly lead the investigators direct to the doorsteps of Shivraj Singh Chauhan.
The Income Tax investigators have found evidence of foreign exchange regulation violations also. They are collating what they have found with the assistance of Enforcement Directorate. What must be causing worry to the top party leadership is that a substantial part of the loot was flowing into the coffers of the party leaders in Delhi. The Rs 250-crore worldwide internet prime ministerial campaign of Lal Krishna Advani during the 2009 Lok Sabha elections, in the style of poll campaigns of American presidents, was, it was said, substantially funded from Madhya Pradesh. Leader of Opposition in Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj is said to be another beneficiary of Chauhan’s large heartedness. Her declared cash, gold and immovable property multiplied manifold between 2006 when she was elected to Rajya Sabha from Madhya Pradesh and 2009 when she contested Lok Sabha election from Vidisha in the State. Surely, these two cannot be the only ones.