Former BJP minister Laxmikant Sharma and Dhanraj Yadav, Officer on Special Duty (OSD) to Governor Ram Naresh Yadav has been named in a First Information Report by the Madhya Pradesh Special Task Force (STF) on an alleged manipulation of results in the recruitment of temporary teachers. This is the most high profile turn in the probes into the Professional Examination Board (PEB) which conducts examinations for professional courses and recruitment to public services in the state. Dhanraj Yadav resigned on Wednesday and issued a statement saying that he was putting in his papers to "protect the dignity of the Raj Bhavan"

A senior STF source, overseeing the probes, revealed that the FIRs alleging cheating and forgery in Samvida Shala Shikshak (temporary government school teachers) recruitment was filed around 10 days back by the STF and submitted to Chief Judicial Magistrate Pankaj Maheshwari. Additional Director General of Police (STF) Sudhir Sahi confirmed that an FIR has been filed and replied in the affirmative when asked whether former minister Sharma and Yadav had been named in it. “I cannot comment on the investigations,” he added.

There are several recruitment tests for jobs in the police, transport, food and dairy departments, in addition to Pre Medical and Post Graduate Medical entrance exams, under the scanner since July. The STF source added that the total number of accused in all the PEB related cases is now more than 200.

Besides Yadav, Sharma and his OSD OP Shukla, the prominent individuals named in these cases include mining baron and Convener of the BJP’s Education Cell Sudhir Sharma, Congress leader Sanjeev Saxena, Deputy Inspector General of Police (Umaria) RK Shivhare and OSD (Raj Bhavan) Dhanraj Yadav. Several persons including former PEB Controller Pankaj Trivedi and its chief systems analyst Nitin Mahindra are in custody. Sudhir Sharma, Shukla and Saxena have not yet been traced by the police. Sudhir Sharma is also facing Lokayukt and Central Bureau of Investigation probes into alleged kickbacks received by mining officials.

Both Laxmikant Sharma and Saxena lost the recent Vidhan Sabha polls.

On Wednesday the government also instituted a committee under PEB Chairman Devraj Birdi to reform the PEB and make it transparent and effective. The case against Devraj Yadav, has put the glare of suspicion on Raj Bhavan too. Opposition leaders had privately expressed resentment that the Governor had closed the monsoon session of the assembly despite its abrupt adjournment. On July 11, during the last session of the 13th Vidhan Sabha, the deputy leader of the Congress Chaudri Rakesh Singh Chaturvedi scuttled his own party's no confidence motion and defected to the BJP. The opposition had demanded that the Governor ask the government to reconvene the house, yet he did not do so.

"The pressure from higher ups on Devraj must be investigated and there must be a full enquiry on the role anyone in Raj Bhavan involved in the scam," Congress spokesman JP Dhanopia told The Hindu.


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