An internal probe ordered by Kerala BJP chief Kummanam Rajasekharan has left many red faces in the party over revelations of an alleged bribe being paid to a BJP leader in lieu of getting Medical Council of India’s recognition for a private medical college in the state.
First reported by Asianet, the two-member probe committee of senior BJP leaders K P Sreesan Master and A K Nazeer found that a party leader confessed he had taken Rs 5.60 crore from the owner of a medical college to be allegedly paid to MCI authorities in Delhi. The committee observed that the “corruption charges were very serious in nature” and cannot be allowed under the party regime at the Centre.
The committee report, which has recommended action against the party leader, is expected to be discussed at the next state committee meeting of the BJP.
The probe was ordered after a complaint to the party in mid-May by R Shaji, chairman of S R Educational and Charitable Trust, Varkala. Shaji alleged that he had paid Rs 5.60 crore to young BJP leader R S Vinod to get MCI sanction for his medical college.
Vinod, who is the state convener of BJP’s cooperative cell, according to the report, paid this money to a Delhi-based middleman through a hawala dealer near Kochi.
The probe committee recorded statements from six persons allegedly involved in the case including the middleman.
In his testimony to the committee, Shaji claimed he was told by Vinod that the Delhi middleman could influence MCI and that he had been instrumental in ensuring MCI recognition for several medical colleges.
Shaji alleged that one Rakesh Sivaraman, posing as private secretary to the BJP state president, had introduced the middleman to him through Vinod. Shaji told the committee that Vinod had demanded Rs 17 crore for securing MCI’s recognition.
Shaji said that when the MCI came to inspect his college — contrary to the middleman’s assurance — he realized that the money he had paid had failed to reach MCI authorities.
The probe committee said that Vinod admitted he had taken money from Shaji but had claimed that the deal was part of his “business” and not related to the party. The commission said it was shocked at the stand of party leader Vinod.
When asked about his name figuring in the report, state general secretary M T Ramesh told The Indian Express: “I haven’t taken money from anyone in connection with the MCI recognition for medical colleges.’’ BJP state president Kummanam Rajasekharan was not available for comment.
When contacted in Delhi, P Muralidhar Rao, General Secretary of BJP, said: “No state leader has any access to administrative machinery at the Centre. I do not think this story is substantiated by facts. To me it appears to be a dubious report.”
Incidentally, yesterday, the Supreme Court approved a five-member panel of eminent doctors to oversee the MCI’s affairs and to issue “remedial directions” for improvement in its functioning. (with ENS, Delhi)