Posts Tagged ‘K.K.Mishra’
The focus on Madhya Pradesh chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan and wife Sadhna Singh for their alleged involvement in the Vyapam scam was deflected when the Special Task Force (STF) registered an FIR in connection with the same scam against Governor Ram Naresh Yadav as it was perhaps for the first time that a criminal case was instituted against a serving Governor. The Governor’s son, Shailesh, was named as an accused in an FIR filed on February 18 for recommending 10 people for appointment as teachers in 2013. He died in Lucknow under mysterious circumstances on March 24. The Governor had meanwhile moved the State High Court which eventually quashed the FIR.
While few will vouchsafe for Governor Yadav’s commitment to propriety in the discharge of his duties, the manner in which the criminal case was instituted against him left a stinking trail behind it. The Congress in the State had been agitating, on and off, over Vyapam scam for quite some time. Of late the agitation was intensified by Leader of Opposition in the Assembly Satyadev Katare, with the help of PCC spokesperson K K Mishra, an intrepid digger of BJP government’s dark secrets. Towards the middle of last year, AICC general secretary and former chief minister Digvijaya Singh had also started taking active interest in the scam-related agitation against the BJP government.
The budget session of the Assembly was scheduled to begin on February 18. Two days before that, Digvijaya Singh threw a virtual bombshell. He submitted a sworn affidavit to the High Court-appointed Special Investigation Team (SIT) claiming that the excel sheets in the computers of the Vyapam had been tampered with to save chief minister Chouhan. Later he released a copy of his affidavit with the “tampered” excel sheets at a press conference. In a rare show of unity in the Madhya Pradesh Congress, Digvijaya Singh was accompanied at the press conference by former Union ministers Kamal Nath and Jyotiraditya Scindia, PCC president Arun Yadav and Leader of Opposition in the Assembly Satyadev Katare. Eminent advocate K T S Tulsi was also present. The affidavit says at the end: “vetted and settled by Sh. Kapil Sibal, Senior Advocate”.
According to Digvijaya Singh’s affidavit, the entry “CM” was deleted and replaced by other names 47 times in the computer to show that the illegalities were committed not on instructions of the chief minister but on the instructions of others. At a few places “CM” was replaced by “Uma Bharti” and at some other places by “Raj Bhavan”. He says: “as per law it is mandatory to maintain a record of ‘chain of custody’ of electronic evidence, which encapsulates the persons who handled the specimen/evidence at (the) time of seizure, what was collected, why it was collected, at what time it was handed over to next person for safe custody, to whom it was handed over, and for how long it remained in custody of various officials. The charge-sheet is silent on handling of records from local police, Indore, to Crime Branch, Indore and STF”.
This gave fresh ammunition to the Congress which created a ruckus in the House as the budget session commenced and held demonstrations outside. The ruling party became much too uncomfortable. On February 24, the STF told the media that an FIR had been registered against the Governor on the basis of the statements made by some Vyapam officials who had been arrested by STF over a year earlier and were in judicial custody. The STF did not explain why it waited for over a year to act on the allegations made by the Vyapam officials in custody.
The FIR against the Governor created a sensation but it did not dampen the clamour against the chief minister. As Chouhan found it too embarrassing to face the incessant Opposition demand in the House for his resignation, Speaker Sita Sharan Sharma abruptly adjourned the budget session sine die on a motion of Legal Affairs Minister Narottam Mishra as the House assembled on February 26 (though it was scheduled to last till March 27). Before adjourning the House, the Speaker declared the budget passed – as well as the Appropriation Bill introduced, admitted and passed, in flagrant violation of the rules. Apparently, for Speaker Sharma, saving the chief minister from continued embarrassment was more important than observance of the rules and propriety.
If the purpose of all this was to divert attention from the alleged roles of Chouhan and his wife in the scam, the STF and Speaker Sita Sharan Sharma had succeeded, at least for the time being. The intensity of the Congress agitation petered out. The scam came into the focus with greater intensity a few months later with three Vyapam-related deaths within three days. The investigation was eventually handed over to CBI by Supreme Court.
If you are the chief minister of a State and the Nature’s wrath destroys the crops and the farmers commit suicide, the illegally stored explosives burst killing over a hundred and injuring scores of others, the law and order situation takes a nosedive, the contract-hired teachers agitate and the health services are in a mess, more particularly in the rural areas, what would you do? Go on a foreign tour with your wife and some trusted bureaucrats in the name of soliciting foreign investments.
Madhya Pradesh chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan learnt this mantra soon after assuming office ten years ago. He has since been periodically visiting various countries, all the time claiming to woo investors. Even if one per cent of the assurances and promises he claimed to have received, the face of this BIMARU Madhya Pradesh would have by now been glowing with red hue.
Recently he returned from nine-day jaunt to Japan and South Korea with 23 investment promises. Not long ago he had been to Italy, the Netherlands and Germany at the head of a large brigade comprising (then) industries minister Kailash Vijayvargiya (who now has divined that actor Shah Rukh Khan’s body is in India but his soul is in Pakistan), a contingent of State government officials and a platoon of the State’s industrialists.
If, as the cliché goes, Chouhan’s wishes were horses, Madhya Pradesh would have by now a Rs 20,000-crore aviation city for repair and maintenance of the aircraft, a world university, a world class golf course, and would have become a pioneering State in power, textile, food processing, information technology and bio-fuel sectors with investments from Italy, the Netherlands and Germany alone. One of the first tasks of Chouhan on becoming the chief minister was to invite Britain’s biggest Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT), with assets worth £8 billion (nearly Rs 75,000 crore), to begin its operations in Madhya Pradesh.
In February this year when the heat of the Vyapam scam had become a bit too much for Chouhan to endure (in spite of the illicit help provided by Assembly Speaker Sita Sharan Sharma), Chouhan had pushed off to the US with his wife and coterie. The information obtained by Ajay Dube through RTI application revealed that Chouhan had spent close to Rs 3 crore on his five-day US trip, nearly Rs 2 lakh on gifts alone.
Congress leader K K Mishra has alleged that Chouhan may also be using his frequent foreign trips to stash in foreign banks his ill-gotten money.