The Congress released booklet listing 17 major scams during the second term of Shivraj Chouhan
In separate press conferences on Sunday, the Congress and the BJP recounted allegations of corruption during each other’s regimes. The Congress released its “Charge sheet 2009-2013” a booklet listing 17 major scams, during the second term of Chief Minister Shivraj Chouhan, cumulatively estimated at more than 1.46 lakh crores. The report also revealed that Rs. 1,031.25 crore had been seized in 57 Lokayukt and Income Tax Department raids on officials and public representatives in the last three years.
The booklet was released by Opposition Leader Ajay Singh, Union Water Resources Minister Harish Rawat, All India Congress Committee General Secretaries Digvijaya Singh and Mohan Prakash and Madhya Pradesh Congress Committee president Kantilal Bhuria.
Ajay Singh, who headed the committee that drafted the report, quoted extensively from public speeches of BJP leaders who have spoken against corruption in the State government.
He alleged that a relative of the ruling family had become a leading contractor for the government by submitting false documents. His brother faces several charges of illegal mining and grabbing the land reserved for tribals. “It is clear that the government runs for personal agendas and not the public agenda,” he said.
Mr. Singh pointed out that the government has still not handed over files demanded by the Lokayukt, relating to corruption probes on 14 Ministers. He accused a VIP’s relative of helping around 50 Munnabhais (persons who cleared medical entrance exams through proxy test writers) in the Pre Medical Test (PMT) scam. If the call records from (Madhya Pradesh Professional Education Board Controller of Examinations, Pankaj) Trivedi were found, it would lead to very high places, he alleged.
He challenged the Chief Minister to a debate on these allegations in Bhopal’s Lal Parade Grounds. A no-confidence motion which listed these allegations during the monsoon session this year was scuttled after the Deputy Congress Leader in the house Rakesh Chaturvedi crossed the floor.
“If the Congress comes to power, a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) enquiry will be ordered into the scams and those guilty will be punished,” he added.
The BJP was quick to rebut with a press conference an hour later. The party’s national vice-president Prabhat Jha challenged the Congress to go to court on these allegations.
“This isn’t a charge sheet but a certificate of defeat,” Mr. Jha said. “They are trying to match the amounts of the scams of the Union government by adding even allocations to departments to the list. Releasing fake statistics is a social crime... we will complain to the Election Commission as this amounts to misguiding voters,” he claimed.
“The Congress has adopted the practice of levelling charges on the Chief Minister’s family. They keep on chanting these charges when none of them have been proved... I advise them not to throw stones from a glass house,” he added.