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Accused candidates and their parents must be made approvers in Vyapam scam: Digvijaya Singh

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New Delhi, (IANS): Candidates and their parents named as accused in the Vyapam recruitment scam should be made approvers in the case, Congress leader and former Madhya Pradesh chief minister Digvijaya Singh said on Tuesday.

“Police officials and others who have made money from these candidates should be the accused. They should be behind bars,” Digvijaya Singh told IANS in an exclusive interview here.

Asked about the string of some 45 deaths linked to the scandal, many in mysterious circumstances, Digvijaya Singh said while he could not claim that these were linked to the scam, matters did appear to be suspicious.

“It is suspicious how so many young people have died due to seemingly innocuous reasons.”

Reacting to Home Minister Rajnath Singh’s clean chit to Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan in the Vyapam scam, Digvijaya Singh said the comment was “unbecoming” of the union minister.

“Statements of this kind will effectively prejudice the IPS (Indian Police Service) officers investigating this case. It is most unbecoming of the home minister to give this kind of statement.”

The Madhya Pradesh Professional Examination Board, better known as Vyapam, short for Vyavsayik Pariksha Mandal, has been mired in controversies for years.

The scam came to light when 20 people were arrested in 2013 for impersonating candidates meant to appear in the 2009 medical entrance examination.

Vyapam conducts examinations to recruit Class III and IV employees in the state as well as admission tests for medical courses. More than 2,000 people have been arrested so far in connection with the scandal.

Digvijaya Singh welcomed the CBI takeover of the investigation but insisted that the Supreme Court must monitor the probe.

“We had asked the Madhya Pradesh CM to order a CBI probe first, and we had objected to the Special Task Force (STF) comprising only Madhya Pradesh Police officers investigating the scam.”

According to him, Madhya Pradesh Police personnel would find it difficult to investigate their own chief minister.

The STF was due to submit its report on the Vyapam scam when the CBI probe was ordered. This effectively means that the STF report will not be released now.

Asked if he believed Chouhan would step down, Digvijaya Singh replied in the negative, saying such a development would trigger a chain reaction.

“The MP CM knew about the whole thing. He was the person who put everybody involved in the scam in place. How can he not be aware of a scam of this size happening right under his nose?”

“But I don’t expect him to resign. Too many top leaders of the BJP and RSS are involved. (His resignation) will lead to a chain reaction.”

Digvijaya Singh said the first information report names prominent RSS leaders like Suresh Soni and the late Sudarshan.

Mihir Kumar, a supposed beneficiary of the scam, reportedly told the STF that Sudarshan and Soni’s recommendations got him a job as a food inspector through the MP Professional Examination Board. Soni has denied the allegation. Kumar is currently on bail.

According to the senior Congress leader, the BJP government was not serious about getting to the bottom of this case, and the CBI probe was announced only to pre-empt a Supreme Court order.

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Ex-Pakistani PM Nawaz Sharif Indicted on Corruption Charges

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Muhammad Safdar, husband of Maryam Nawaz, daughter of ousted Pakistani premier Nawaz Sharif, waves from a a vehicle as he arrives at an accountability court in Islamabad. VOA

Islamabad, October 19: Former Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has been indicted on corruption charges stemming from information taken from the so-called “Panama Papers.”

The country’s anti-corruption court indicted the 67-year-old Sharif during a hearing Thursday in Islamabad. His daughter Maryam and son-in-law Mohammed Safdar were also indicted. Maryam Sharif and Mohammed Safdar appeared in court and pleaded not guilty to the charges.

A lawyer for the elder Sharif, who is in London with his wife as she undergoes cancer treatment, entered a not guilty plea on his behalf. Maryam Sharif angrily dismissed the allegations as “baseless.”

Sharif was disqualified by Pakistan’s Supreme Court and removed from office in July after leaked documents last year from a Panama-based law firm revealed the family held a number of unreported overseas assets.(VOA)

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Journalist Behind the Panama Papers Killed in a Car Bomb

Caruana Galizia was recently described by the American news outlet Politico as a "one-woman WikiLeaks".

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Daphne Caruana Galizia died on Monday when her car, a Peugeot 108, was destroyed by a powerful explosive device. (Representative image) Pixabay

Valletta, October 17, 2017 : A journalist who led the Panama Papers probe into corruption in Malta was killed on Monday in a car bomb near her residence, the media reported.

Daphne Caruana Galizia died on Monday when her car, a Peugeot 108, was destroyed by a powerful explosive device, reports the Guardian.

A blogger whose posts often attracted more readers than the combined circulation of the country’s newspapers, Caruana Galizia was recently described by the American news outlet Politico as a “one-woman WikiLeaks”.

Her latest revelations accused Malta’s Prime Minister Joseph Muscat and two of his closest aides, connecting offshore companies linked to the three men with the sale of Maltese passports and payments from the government of Azerbaijan.

No group or individual claimed responsibility for the attack, the Guardian reported.

Malta’s President Marie-Louise Coleiro Preca, called for calm. “In these moments, when the country is shocked by such a vicious attack, I call on everyone to measure their words, to not pass judgement and to show solidarity.”

ALSO READ Not Just Journalist Ram Chandra Chhatrapati, these 9 People too Bore the Brunt of Speaking Truth to Fight Corruption

In a statement, Muscat condemned the “barbaric attack”.

“Everyone knows Caruana Galizia was a harsh critic of mine,” said Muscat, adding “Both politically and personally, but nobody can justify this barbaric act in any way.”

He announced in parliament later on Monday that Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) officers were on their way to Malta to assist with the investigation, following his request for help from the US government.

According to local media reports, Caruana Galizia filed a police report 15 days ago to say that she had been receiving death threats.

The journalist posted her final blog on her Running Commentary website at 2.35 p.m. on Monday, and the explosion, which occurred near her home, was reported to police just after 3 p.m.

Over the last two years, her reporting had largely focused on revelations from the Panama Papers, a cache of 11.5 million documents leaked from the internal database of the world’s fourth largest offshore law firm, Mossack Fonseca. (IANS)

 

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Amit Shah Rejects Allegation of Money Laundering on Son Jay Shah

"Where has money laundering been done? All the transactions happened through cheques and banks," claimed Amit Shah at an event.

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Amit Shah, BJP National President. Wikimedia

Ahmedabad, October 13, 2017 : Breaking his silence, BJP president Amit Shah rejected allegations of money laundering against his son Jay Shah whose company had reportedly recorded an extraordinary spike in business after the BJP came to power at the Centre, and asserted that it had not done any business with the government nor taken any kickbacks.

He also said that unlike the Congress, which had faced many corruption charges in the past, his son has shown courage to file a civil and criminal defamation suit on the allegations levelled against him and “invited a probe against himself” by this step.

“There is no money laundering involved in Jay’s company. This company is completely in commodity business, where turnover is more while the profit is less. We have exported bajra, corn and rice while coriander was imported. And after doing a turnover of Rs 80 crore, they don’t tell how much they made profit,” Amit Shah said at an “India Today” event “Gujarat Panchayat”.

Answering questions, he said that after making a turnover of Rs 80 crore, Jay made a loss of Rs 1.5 crore. “Where has money laundering been done? All the transactions happened through cheques and banks,” he said.

Asked about Jay Shah filing a defamation suit against the publication, Shah said: “Before answering your question I would like to ask you one thing. After Independence, how many corruption charges have been made against the Congress?

“Please understand this is not corruption. Many allegations of corruption were made against the Congress. Did it ever file a civil suit or defamation suit? No. Why they lacked such courage? Today Jay has filed a defamation as well as civil suit and is demanding a probe himself. Those who have the evidence can submit it to the court, and then the court will decide,” the BJP president said.

He said: “We have ourselves invited a probe and on the company issue I want to clarify that it has not done business with the government of even Re 1 nor taken any government land or tender. Neither has it received kickbacks as in the case of Bofors.”

When asked about Jay’s company securing unsecured loans, Shah said it was not unsecured loans. “It was a line of credit,” he added. (IANS)