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After I-T raids, Madhya Pradesh steps up heat on previous BJP govt

The Economic Offences Wing (EOW) of Madhya Pradesh Police will probe alleged financial irregularities at Bhopal-based Makhanlal Chaturvedi Journalism University which, it believes, were committed during the previous Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) regime, senior government officials said on Friday.

On Thursday, the EOW arrested three suspects in connection with alleged irregularities in e-tendering to the tune of of ₹3,000 crore. The EOW action came days after the income tax department raided the premises of some people considered close to chief minister Kamal Nath.

EOW will look into the money given by the university during the BJP rule to various organisations affiliated to the Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh (RSS), BJP’s ideological parent, the officials cited above said on condition of anonymity.

An EOW official said the wing had received the report of a committee headed by the publicity department’s additional chief secretary Gopal Reddy that initially probed alleged irregularities at the university.

The report contains details of money paid to certain RSS affiliates for projects and appointments made in the university. The probe found that several courses were run without approval from the University Grants Commission, India’s higher education regulator, and research and projects of dubious nature were funded without proper approval, a university official said. EOW director K N Tiwari admitted that his department had received the report of the Reddy panel. “We are looking into it for further action,” he said.

University vice-chancellor Deepak Tiwari did not respond to calls and messages from HT.

The state government officials said a case is likely to be registered to probe a ₹ 118-crore investment made in Infrastructure Leasing and Financial Services (IL&FS) by the Bhopal district cooperative bank. IL&FS went bust last year.

Cases related to a frauds in Madhya Pradesh’s professional entrance exam, known as Vyapam, which are not being investigated by the Central Bureau of Investigation, may also be reopened, a second government official said.

According to the officials, the Bhopal District Cooperative Bank invested ₹ 110 crore at 9.5% interest rate in October 2017 for a year in IL&FS. The amount would have turned into ₹118 crore in October 2018; but by then, the company had collapsed and the government had put a hold on all payments. The cooperative bank simply renewed the deposit without taking any action, according to the officials.

Cooperatives minister Govind Singh has written to the chief minister demanding that an inquiry be conducted into the matter. “We will expose all those behind all the scams that took place during BJP rule,” Singh said. Bhopal District Cooperative Bank chief executive officer R S Vishwakarma said the investment had been made in line with Reserve Bank of India guidelines.

Anand Rai, one of the whistleblowers in the Vyapam case, said chief minister Kamal Nath had asked him to submit details of all the complaints pending before the special task force (STF) constituted to probe the case.

State BJP spokesperson Rajneesh Agrawal said that the state government’s action shows it had been rattled by the I-T raids which, he said, had exposed corruption at the top level and all this is being done to deflect criticism

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