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Vyapam scam: Chouhan ordered appointment of Malay Rai in a haste, reveals RTI

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shivraj singh chouhan

New Delhi: Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan had hastily ordered the appointment of Malay Rai as Madhya Pradesh State Finance Commission member over the phone, an RTI query has revealed.

Rai was chairman of the MP professional examination board, or Vyapam, in 2009-10, and the order (dated June 6, 2014) was issued even as the Vyapam scam was being investigated.

Chouhan was on one of his foreign tours in June 2014 when he made the urgent call to the state finance department.

This was revealed in an RTI reply given by the State Finance Department, to whistleblower Ajay Dubey. The RTI reply stated that the CM approved the proposal for the appointment on phone, subject to formal confirmation on his return from his trip overseas.

A copy of the State Finance department order has been provided in the RTI reply. The reply also said that the tenure of the finance commission will be up to June 30, 2015.

Dubey said that he would be filing one of several petitions in the Supreme Court regarding this.

“What was the urgency in issuing the order telephonically? Our contention is that how can the state government appoint the former chairman of Vyapam to the finance commission when the examination board itself is under investigation, he said, adding that none of the officials of the board has yet got a clean chit.

Dubey also said that After the Vyapam question paper leaks in 2008 and 2009, the state government in 2010 had recruited central observers, including retired IAS, IFS and IPS officers and retired persons from academic field to observe and monitor the scanning of answer sheets.

“From 2010 till date about 500 central observers have been recruited by the state to monitor scanning of sheets, but still there have been irregularities. The scam hasn’t stopped with regard to the recruitment of professionals,” said Dubey

The MP Board, also known as Vyavsayik Pariksha Mandal or Vyapam conducts examinations to recruit government employees in the state and holds admission tests for medical courses.

It has been mired in controversies for years, but it eventually came to light when 20 people were arrested in 2013 for impersonating candidates appearing for the 2009 medical entrance examinations.

This was followed by arrests of the state’s ex-education minister Laxmikant Sharma, bureaucrats, Vyapam officials, racketeers, middlemen, candidates and their parents after the Special Task Force (STF) was established in August 2013.

More than 2.000 had been arrested so far in connection with the scam. According to reports, the admission and recruitment scam involving politicians, senior officials and businessmen in Madhya Pradesh could be pegged at Rs.20,000 crore involving about 30,000 people.

Forty-five associated with the Vyapam scam have died – mostly unnaturally or under mysterious circumstances.

(IANS)

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BJP Hopeful of Getting its “First Chief Minister” in Jammu and Kashmir

Meanwhile, the BJP which shared power in the state with the PDP for three years from 2015 to 2018, did not get the top post

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BJP, Chief Minister, Jammu and Kashmir
Jammu and Kashmir has seen several Chief Ministers from Congress, National Conference and the People's Democratic Party (PDP). Flickr

The BJP is hopeful of getting its “first Chief Minister” in Jammu and Kashmir following the abrogation of Article 370 from the state two months ago, and the planned delimitation of the Assembly constituencies.

In an interview to IANS, Jammu and Kashmir Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) chief Ravinder Raina said, “Jammu and Kashmir is a unit. And as President of BJP here, I am confident that we will have a BJP Chief Minister in Jammu and Kashmir very soon.”

Jammu and Kashmir has seen several Chief Ministers from Congress, National Conference and the People’s Democratic Party (PDP).

Meanwhile, the BJP which shared power in the state with the PDP for three years from 2015 to 2018, did not get the top post and had to accept the post of Deputy Chief Minister.

BJP, Chief Minister, Jammu and Kashmir
In an interview to IANS, Jammu and Kashmir Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) chief Ravinder Raina said, Jammu and Kashmir is a unit. Flickr

When asked about the planned delimitation of constituencies in Jammu and Kashmir, Raina said, “The Election Commission will take a final call on the delimitation of the Assembly constituencies here.”

Raina said the poll panel will constitute a commission, which will be headed by either a retired Supreme Court or High Court judge.

The BJP leader pointed out that the commission which will be constituted for the delimitation process will follow all the standard prodecures.

The government abrogated Article 370 of the Constitution from Jammu and Kashmir on August 5 and also bifurcated the state into two union territories.

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Following the revocation of Article 370, the government has enforced a massive clampdown on communication and internet services in the state and deployed heavy security presence.

To a question over the clampdown for 60 days in the state, the state BJP chief said, “Soon after the abrogation of Article 370 the mobile connectivity and internet facility was suspended here.

“And now you are witnessing that the mobile connectivity and Wi-fi services are given a free hand and people are using those facilities here,” Raina said pointing towards the Wi-fi hotspots and connections provided to the citizens in Jammu.

Pointing towards the Kashmir valley, where only landlines connections and BSNL mobile networks are operating, he said, “In Kashmir valley too, the communication systems whether it is landline connections or BSNL mobile numbers are being operated and are given access.”

BJP, Chief Minister, Jammu and Kashmir
And as President of BJP here, I am confident that we will have a BJP Chief Minister in Jammu and Kashmir very soon. Pixabay

“But there are still apprehensions that Pakistani agents may use the internet facilities to defame and to create mess and try to instigate the youth of the country,” he said on the internet suspension in Srinagar and other districts in the Kashmir valley.

Raina further said that Pakistani elements can instigate the youth and spread venom in the society and that is why preventive measures have been taken. “But soon you shall find all internet facilities will be opened and will be given free access,” he said.

India has on several occasions accused Pakistan of sponsoring terror and allowing its land to be used for terror activities. In recent days, the Indian Army and security forces have foiled terrorists’ attempts to enter Indian territory from the Pakistan side.

On India’s semi-high speed and feature-rich Vande Bharat Express arriving in Jammu from Delhi, he said, “We are thankful to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Home Minister Amit Shah and Railway Minister Piyush Goyal for providing the best train that is Vande Bharat Express to Jammu and Kashmir after the revocation of Article 370.

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He said “Vande Bharat Express will provide all sorts of relief to passengers that we have seen at the overcrowded railway stations of Jammu Tawi, Katra and Udhampur. It is a big gift for the people of Kashmir,” Raina added. (IANS)