The BJP government in Madhya Pradesh has eventually conceded defeat in the court battle against Vyapam whistle blower Anand Rai.
The Shivraj Singh Chouhan government on Friday decided to withdraw the transfers of Dr. Rai and his wife, Gouri, a gynecologist, who had alleged they were being shunted with “mala fide” intentions.
Employees of the State health department, the couple would be re-instated to their original posting in Indore. They would also be paid the salary withheld by the government for the past three months, within the next three days, Advocate General Ravish Agarwal submitted in an undertaking before the Madhya Pradesh High Court’s Indore Bench.
Dr. Rai, considered key in exposing the Vyapam scam, was in July transferred from Indore to Dhar. Weeks later, his wife Gouri was also transferred to the same district — her second transfer in one month.
Dr. Rai alleged that the transfers were part of a vendetta against him for his role in exposing the Vyapam scam. He challenged the “mala fide” transfers in court, which had stayed them.
Dr. Rai sees the revoking of the transfers as a minor victory as he had forced the government on the back foot after he accused the CM of trying to broker a deal with him, offering to cancel the couple’s transfers, if he withdrew his campaign against Mr. Chouhan.
The State’s backtracking has brought a big relief to the whistle blower and his family. “I see this as a victory of civil rights movement and a vindication of the rights of whistle blowers,” he told The Hindu.
Senior counsel Vivek Tankha who represented Dr. Rai said the State’s “surrender” would provide a major fillip to the civil rights activists fighting against the State.
In an affidavit submitted before the Court earlier this month, Dr. Rai alleged that he was summoned by Mr. Chouhan to his official residence on the evening of August 11 for a “negotiation.”
Facing heat in the case, the State government failed to submit a counter to the affidavit on two successive hearings, before it decided to withdraw the transfers on Friday. However, asked about what the allegations against Mr. Chouhan, Mr. Tankha said the court had disposed off the petition as the State granted Dr. Rai all his demands. A division bench of Justices P.K Jaiswal and D.K. Paliwal disposed off the petition filed by Dr. Rai. The state government is “ready to grant the relief which has been claimed,” the court observed.