Former BJP minister Laxmikant Sharma was Monday remanded to police custody till June 20 even as the Special Task Force (STF) intensified efforts to arrest his former OSD Sudhir Sharma in connection with the recruitment scam in Madhya Pradesh.
The former minister described his arrest as “an attack on truth’’. The minister had been quoted as saying that he had sacrificed himself to save some “important persons” but he refused to name them.
The Congress alleged the arrest was “a planned surrender’’ to save CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan and key leaders of the RSS. The Opposition party demanded that a Supreme Court-monitored SIT should be set up as the STF, which reports to Chouhan, would not be able to do an impartial job.
The Congress also demanded immediate arrest of Prem Pande, who worked in the CMO before he was sacked by Chouhan, because his name had figured during the probe. The Opposition party said the STF should question every person in the CMO based on the call detail records of the accused already in custody.
A day after his arrest, the former minister resigned from the BJP. His resignation was promptly accepted.
Meanwhile, the Congress alleged a threat to the lives of key persons who are either in STF custody or have been declared absconders. Leader of Opposition Satyadev Katare demanded protection for Laxmikant Sharma, Sudhir Sharma, the former minister’s other OSD O P Shukla, former examination controller of MPPEB Pankaj Trivedi and RSS leader Ajay Shankar Mehta. Katare also sought probe into senior RSS functionary Suresh Soni’s role in the scam.
Congress chief spokesperson K K Mishra in a statement claimed that two days ago a senior bureaucrat in the CMO held a function in a leading hotel and it was attended by Sudhir Sharma, who stayed for 20 minutes. It was surprising, he claimed, that the STF did not know about Sudhir Sharma’s public presence.
At Tri Nagar, Smriti Irani centered her speech around Modi, with over 10 references in 11-minute extempore.