MPPEB scam: Centre asks MP Governor Yadav to resign over FIR, but state govt may not want it
An appointee of the previous UPA government at the Centre, 88-year-old Yadav, was expected to continue in office till September 2015.
Bhopal: In probably the only instance involving the first citizen of a state, the Special Task Force of Madhya Pradesh police finally lodged an FIR charging Governor Ram Naresh Yadav which has prompted the Centre to seek his resignation. Among the charges against him are cheating for his alleged involvement in the Professional Examination Board (PEB) Forest Guard recruitment scam.
The governor faces an assortment of charges under IPC including Section 420 (cheating) and Prevention of Corruption Act. An appointee of the previous UPA government at the Centre, 88-year-old Yadav, was expected to continue in office till September 2015.
While the Centre has reportedly asked him to put in his papers to avoid more embarrassment, the state government might not be so keen on it. The Governor’s departure would lend substance to the Congress charges against Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan, making him more vulnerable.
Many in Madhya Pradesh saw the upheaval coming when the Congress made the latest revelations about the scam of the decade on the eve of the state Budget session. The Congress was gunning for Chouhan, who rejected demands for his resignation.
The Congress had claimed that government machinery was misused to shield Chouhan and family while implicating senior party colleagues like Uma Bharti and the Governor. Uma Bharti, who had visited the Governor following the Congress’ expose, was also expected to figure in Tuesday’s FIR. But there was no confirmation forthcoming. The government was also trying to save the RSS leaders who featured in the scam, the Congress had said.
Bharti had asked for a CBI inquiry into the matter. Chouhan has persistently refused to hand the enquiry to the CBI. The STF after all is the state government’s handmaid, says the Opposition.
Congress’ lawyers say the original excel sheets of the PEB results were manipulated and the original hard disk of the PEB controller Nitin Mohindra’s computer, crucial electronic evidence in the case, was tampered with by investigating officers. Former chief minister Digvijay Singh challenged Chouhan to prosecute him if his affidavit is wrong; or resign.
Chouhan is backed by the state unit of the party.
"There were 3,58,490 recruitments done by MPPEB. Of these, the alleged irregularities were found in 228. The scam was exposed by Chouhan and not by Congress or media," said the BJP.
The Governor, on the other hand, is well and truly in a mess. According to the STF, Yadav had recommended the names of five candidates for recruitment as Forest Guard to top PEB officials. The documents recovered from the hard disk of Mohindra included these names. Reports suggest that the Governor’s letterhead was used to recommend the names.
"We have booked the Governor after going through the documents threadbare," STF officials were quoted as saying in a report. After the FIR was registered around 5.15 pm in the STF Police Station at Bhopal Congress party activists protested at Raj Bhawan demanding Yadav’s resignation. There has been intense speculation in the media since Tuesday morning that the FIR would be registered against Yadav in the MPPEB scam, but it was finally registered after vote of thanks to the Governor's address.
Yadav’s role came under scanner after the arrest of his OSD, Dhanraj Yadav last year. His son Shailesh Yadav also made it to the list of accused through the supplementary charge sheet filed by STF in the contractual teacher's grade III exam.
The PEB is also known by its Hindi name Vyavasayik Pariksha Mandal or Vyapam. The Vyapam scam, one of the biggest in the history of the state runs into several hundred crore rupees and has ruined the careers of thousands of students.
The STF, which has been probing the case, earlier lodged two FIRs against former technical education minister Laxmikant Sharma and 129 others, which is being probed by the STF. Even if the chief minister Chouhan is not nailed in the case the party will have suffered considerable loss of credibility.
(Editor's note: The copy was updated to include the reports that the Centre has sought Yadav's resignation)
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Governors must loathe appearing as agents or appointees of the Central Government if they are to maintain their impartiality and the confidence of their ministers
The National Commission for Women has also forwarded the matter to the Election Commission for necessary action
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