New Delhi: Even as the Congress demanded the sacking of Dharmendra Pradhan, alleging that he received 'payments' from the prime accused in Vyapam scam along with some other BJP and RSS leaders, the Oil Minister denied taking any favour from Sudhir Sharma saying his tickets for visit to Bhopal in May 2010 were procured by the party.
"I never got tickets from anybody, as a party general secretary my tickets were booked by the party headquarters," he said.
"All tickets for my party work were booked by the party office. I got no tickets from anyone," he added, as per PTI.
Vyapam scam: Congress targets Pradhan, RSS leaders
Congress today giving a series of documents including information allegedly contained in a pen drive seized from prime accused Sudhir Sharma by the IT department alleged that besides Pradhan, the accused were making payments to Prabhat Jha, BJP national vice president, his two sons, Suresh Soni, RSS Joint general secretary and BJP MP Anil Dave.
They also insisted that a fair probe was not possible without removal of Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan and alleged that he had protected the guilty.
"Facts and documents in public domain now prove that Chouhan has misled on facts, protected the guilty, refused to take action against the accused and permitted Vyapam scam to happen year after year between 2009 to 2013 despite the lid having been blown in 2009 itself," Congress leaders Jairam Ramesh and Randeep Surjewala alleged at a press conference.
At the same time, the Congress leaders read out from the replies given by the MP CM from time to time on the Vyapam scam to allege that he was the "kingpin" of the scam and not the whistleblower as he claims.
They alleged that Chouhan has protected the officials guilty of the gigantic fraud and corruption in Vyapam. In a reply in the Assembly, the CM has clearly stated that while 114 candidates were found fake in Vyapam, no administrative officer or employee is responsible for the fraud and corruption.
"Can any reasonable person believe that Vyapam fraud was happening on its own without complicity of any single employee or officer or protection of the political executive?" Surjewala asked.
CBI starts probe in Vyapam scam, registers two FIRs
On the other hand, initiating its probe in the Vyapam scam, CBI today registered FIRs in two cases related to rigging of examinations, naming among others a member of the Madhya Pradesh Backward Classes and Minorities Commission and his son.
The FIRs have been registered in connection with the Pre-Medical Test of 2010 and pre-PG Examination, 2011.
The central agency had on Monday taken over all Vyapam scam cases from the Special Task Force of Madhya Pradesh police. The Supreme Court while handing over the investigation to CBI had also asked it to probe the deaths of people linked to Vyapam. According to Congress, 49 people associated with the massive admission and recruitment scam have died mysteriously so far.
The CBI has named 21 candidates in the FIR in connection with Pre-Medical Test 2010, booking them under IPC sections related to criminal conspiracy, cheating and forgery among others, sources said.
In the second case against eight suspects in Pre-PG examination, 2011, the agency has registered FIR under same sections.
Those named in the FIR include Gulab Singh Kirar, a member of the MP Backward Classes and Minorities Commission and his son Shakti Singh Kirar.
Others named include Former Controllers of Examination, Vyapam, Sudhir Bhadauria and Pankaj Trivedi.
The premier investigative agency has constituted a 40-member team headed by Joint Director R P Agarwal to probe the scam in which several high-profile politicians and bureaucrats are accused.
(With PTI inputs)