Laxmikant Sharma’s release may mean trouble for MP Chief Minister
Posted December 21, 2015on:
Release of Laxmikant Sharma from jail may mean trouble for Madhya Pradesh chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan. As one of the main accused in the Vyapam scam, he was kept in jail for over 18 months without trial. Probably it was feared that if he was allowed to be freed on bail, he might say something that might not be in the interest of the chief minister and his family members. That was till the Chouhan-appointed Special Task Force (STF) was in charge of the scam investigation.
Vyapam or Vyavsayik Pareeksha Mandal (Professional Examinations Board – PEB) is entrusted with the task of conducting technical/professional examinations. Manipulations to recruit undeserving candidates in place of meritorious ones started in the Vyapam at some stage. It was during Laxmikant Sharma’s tenure as Minister of Technical Education that Vyapam scam was fully ‘institutionalised’. Sharma was then considered close to the chief minister.
Recruitment to some other departments was also brought under the control of Vyapam. The scam had taken epidemic proportions. Thousands of intelligent and hardworking young boys and girls were denied their due and the relatives of those in power or whoever could pay hefty sums were declared successful, instead.
As stray complaints were made to the police at different places, Chouhan constituted STF under a senior IPS officer ostensibly to investigate the scam but actually to ensure that Chouhan, his family members and some other top leaders were protected.
Top officials of Vyapam, along with many others, were arrested and kept in jail without trial. Laxmikant Sharma, too, was booked in seven scam-related cases and arrested in June last year.
The things changed after the CBI took over the scam investigation from the STF on orders of the Supreme Court. It is not that the officers in the CBI are less dishonest than those manning the STF. But the CBI working is being supervised by the Supreme Court and that gives some hope.
Sharma was the last of the important Vyapam scam accused to come out of jail on bail granted by the High Court on December 20. The only important BJP leader to hail his release was party’s national general secretary Kailash Vijayvargiya who also said that Sharma is innocent.
A former MP minister, Vijayvargiya had never been able reconcile to Chouhan’s being the chief minister. After coming out of jail, Sharma said that he would say in court whatever he has to say. What he is planning to say and what Chouhan would like him to say and how Vijayvargiya plays his politics might enormously affect the ruling party and government in the State.