Congress wants BJP to sack Ministers

Ahead of the monsoon session that begins on July 21, the Congress on Sunday made the removal of key Ministers and Chief Ministers in the Bharatiya Janata Party-led governments at the Centre and in the States conditional to the smooth functioning of Parliament.

Besides opposing the Land Bill, which sources in the saffron party said may not be tabled in this session after the party failed to conjure up support across party lines, the Congress will also oppose the Goods and Services Tax Bill in Parliament.

But more importantly, the party will insist on action in the Vyapam and Lalit Modi scandals from Prime Minister Narendra Modi. While the Congress has been insisting so far that Mr. Modi break his silence on the issues, a key strategist said: “Merely speaking up will not be enough. We will demand action.”

The vast majority of those arrested in the Vyapam scam till now are job applicants or students seeking admissions and their parents. Therefore, the Central Bureau of Investigation should look at ways to make them approvers in the cases, Leader of the Opposition in the Madhya Pradesh Assembly Satyadev Katare said in an interview to The Hindu on Sunday.

Nearly 2,000 arrests have been made in the scam that unfolded over seven years, mostly during Shivraj Singh Chouhan’s tenure as Chief Minister. The CBI took over the investigation earlier this month on Supreme Court directions.

Fear factor

Mr. Katare said the arrests of candidates and students had created a situation in which not many were coming forward as witnesses.

“The 2,000 or so arrests have ensured that even those who are victims do not come forward for fear of being arrested. The CBI should examine through its legal experts whether these people, who have become both victims and beneficiaries of the scam, can be made approvers and let off with administrative action,” Mr. Katare said ahead of the opening of the Monsoon Session of the Assembly on Monday.

‘Cancel admissions’

“If the punishment is merely cancellation of admissions and appointments, many would be willing to come forward to help unearth the large-scale scam,” he said.

“There are four categories of accused in the scam. First, the students and parents who paid bribes and benefited from the admissions scam. Second, those small-time touts and conduits through whom bribes were paid or collected. The third category includes the college, university and Vyapam authorities. Right on top are the bureaucrats and Ministers who managed the scam. They were supported by those who allowed the scam to go on and others who actively connived through policy changes,” Mr. Katare said. “There have been only a handful of arrests in the last two categories,” he said.

Vyapam — the State Board for the conduct of entrance examinations to professional courses — was expanded in 2006 through a change in policy to include recruitments in most departments of the government, including the police, excise and education.

On allegations against Governor Ram Naresh Yadav, Mr. Katare said he would not speak against a constitutional authority. “But I can say that if I were in his place, I would have resigned long ago,” he said.

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Printable version | Jun 5, 2020 6:40:08 AM |

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