Did Madhya Pradesh’s Chouhan foster climate of corruption?
Scams after scams are virtually chasing the Madhya Pradesh chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan, who also happens to be star campaigner of the BJP in the state. After the Bachelor in Dental surgery (BDS) and Pre-medical test (PMT) scams, has emerged a scam in the Open School Board of the State, which conducts High School exams for distance education candidates. The government is also in the dock for the mining scam. The Supreme Court has, recently ordered the closure of more than 100 mines after finding serious irregularities in their allotment.
At least 40 persons, including the Director of the state board, which conducts the PMT exam, and owners of several private colleges, are in jail for their involvement in the PMT and BDS scams. Hundreds of ineligible candidates managed to gain admissions to medical colleges by paying amounts ranging from Rs 15 to Rs 40 lakh to touts, who had links with the officials of the board. Through manipulation in allotment of roll numbers, the officials ensured that these candidates sat behind phony candidates (usually a medical student) in the exams. The latter marked correct answers in his answer sheet and allowed the candidate to copy them.
The BDS scam was even more audacious. Here, in return for a hefty charge, exam answer sheets of BDS students were got written by dentists. The ‘writers’ sat outside the exam halls and wrote answer sheets while the real candidates inside exam halls doodled on their copies. At the end of the exam time, the copies written outside were smuggled in.
Recently, the Special Task Force (STF) of the state police arrested State Open School Board director and examination controller along with an agent in bogus mark-sheet case. Board director Rajendra Prasad, Assistant director and examination controller Rajesh Upadhyay and agent Devendra Gupta were arrested.
Prasad, an adult education officer, was posted as director in the board on deputation. Rajesh too was on deputation in the board and was earlier deputed in the personal staff of school education minister Archana Chitnis. The board officers were arrested for manipulating examination results and getting students passed. They acted as agents of the racketeers, who were printing and supplying bogus mark-sheets of examinees.
Two result sheets were prepared in the board; one for official record and another for the private firm, which printed mark-sheets. In the second sheet, they used whitener to change the marks and thus provide mark-sheets to the failed candidates, declaring them pass.
Besides these three scams in the educational sector, a fake caste certificate scam has also emerged. Fake SC certificates were, apparently, used to obtain government jobs by scores of candidates. A newly-recruited police constable tried to commit suicide after his caste certificate came under scrutiny. Mohan Singh, a constable jumped off the first floor at the Govindpura police station of Bhopal and ended up with multiple fractures.
According to an observer, the fact that one after another scam is emerging in the state shows that the people involved in them found a congenial climate for corruption and irregularities in Madhya Pradesh.
Besides the embarrassment of scams, the ruling BJP is also facing serious difficulties in the process of selection of party candidates for the Vidhan Sabha election, scheduled next month. Groups of party workers from various places are reaching Bhopal almost daily to convey their reservations about the sitting legislators including Ministers. Much to the chagrin of the party leadership, they are holding noisy demonstrations outside the state BJP office. The protestors claim that if such and such sitting legislator was allowed to contest on the party ticket, he was bound loose or may even forfeit their deposits. Such demons have been held against at least 30 legislators, including four ministers.
The latest in the series to face the wrath of the party workers is Deepak Joshi, who happens to be the son of Kailash Joshi, sitting Lok Sabha member and former Chief Minister of the state. The BJP workers are also opposing the move to give party tickets to sons of important leaders of the party. Among others, Commerce Minister Kailash Vijayvargiya and Lok Sabha member Sumitra Mahajan are seeking tickets for
their sons. IPA