Congress president Rahul Gandhi on Wednesday alleged that the "family" of Madhya Pradesh chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan was involved in the Vyapam scam and thus he was ready to face defamation cases for his remarks.
Addressing an election rally in Khargone, Gandhi said, "The (Madhya Pradesh) chief minister got angry on Monday and said Rahul Gandhi was speaking about Vyapam. He said he would file a defamation suit. File as many as cases as you want, it doesn't make any difference."
"Entire Madhya Pradesh knows that there is involvement of the family of the Madhya Pradesh chief minister in the Vyapam scam. I repeat, MP CM's family is involved in the Vyapam scam.
"File cases against me... You cannot run away from the truth. Entire Madhya Pradesh knows about corruption in e-tendering and that 50 people were murdered in the Vyapam scam."
Rahul had on Monday, during a rally in Madhya Pradesh's Jhabua, said that "the name of the son of 'mamaji' had figured in the Panama Papers but no action was taken against him". Though he had not specifically identified the chief minister, he was referring to Chouhan who is popularly known as 'mamaji'.
Chouhan had then tweeted that he will file a defamation case against Rahul for his "frivolous and malafide statements" against him and his family. On Tuesday, Chouhan's son Kartikey filed a criminal defamation case against the Congress chief. The defamation suit was filed by Chouhan in the Special Court of Additional District Judge (ADJ) Suresh Singh through his lawyer Shirish Shrivastava. In the suit, Kartikey has alleged that Gandhi intentionally made the statement to defame him.
Meanwhile, earlier in the same day Rahul had admitted having got "confused" and said Chouhan was not involved in the Panama Papers case. "For campaigning, I am touring Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Rajasthan these days. The ruling BJP has indulged in so many scams and corruption that I got confused," Rahul told the media in his clarification on the controversy.
However, reacting to the allegations levelled by the Congress chief, a senior leader of the BJP state unit said he was misleading the people. On the other hand, Congress too owned-up to Rahul's goof-up and said that the mix-up happened as Rahul was extensively travelling for elections to Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh, and the chief ministers of the three states were facing "serious corruption charges".
Senior Congress leader Anand Sharma at a press conference on Tuesday said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi had also made "Saint Kabir, Guru Nankadeva and Baba Gorakhnath sit together" when they belonged to different centuries. "What could be a bigger confusion than this, this (Rahul Gandhi's) was just a mix-up between the names of two Singhs," he said.
However, state unit BJP vice-president Vijesh Lunawat said, "The Congress had raised the Vyapam issue in earlier elections but lost. He (Gandhi) should know that the CBI has already given a clean chit to the MP chief minister.
"On the contrary, the court ordered registration of an FIR against Congress leaders Digvijaya Singh, Jyotiraditya Scindia and Kamal Nath to enquire into the charges of submitting false electronic evidence and making false allegations in connection with the Vyapam case," he said.
Lunawat confirmed that Kartikey has filed a criminal defamation case.
The Vyapam scam allegedly pertains to fraudulent practices in conducting professional exams through the Madhya Pradesh Professional Examination Board (MPPEB) and recruitment to government posts. It allegedly involved 13 different exams conducted by Vyapam (the acronym for 'Vyavsayik Pariksha Mandal'), for selection of medical students and state government employees where the final results were rigged.
With inputs from PTI
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Updated Date: Oct 31, 2018 11:00:21 IST