The Kerala Vigilance Director on Thursday ordered a probe into a corruption allegation against some state BJP functionaries over the issue of grant of the MCI clearance for a private medical college. As the BJP’s Kerala unit came under a cloud, it expelled a party functionary after an internal party report purportedly said he had allegedly taken a bribe of Rs 5.60 crore to facilitate the approval from the Medical Council of India(MCI) for the college in Varkala near here. R S Vinod, Convenor of the BJP’s Co-Operative Cell in the state, was expelled from the primary membership, hours after the contents of the report, reportedly submitted to state party chief last month, surfaced in a section of media.
According to an official in the chief minister’s office (CMO), a probe into the corruption allegation has been ordered by the state Vigilance Director. Announcing the expulsion of Vinod in a statement late this evening, state unit BJP President Kummanam Rajasekharan said the allegation against Vinod was ‘extremely serious’. “With the charges, Vinod had tainted the anti-corruption image of the party… The gross indiscipline cannot be pardoned and his action was anti-party,” he said and wanted the central leadership to enquire into the bribery allegation. Earlier in the day, Rajasekharan had termed the media reports “exaggerated and based on rumours.”
Seizing upon the corruption allegations, ruling CPI-M and opposition Congress demanded a CBI probe into the matter. The name of BJP state General Secretary M T Ramesh was also mentioned in some media reports in this connection, but he dismissed allegations against him as “baseless”. “I have no role in it”, he told reporters in Kochi, asserting that his innocence would be proved.
The internal report had stated that the allegations were ‘serious’ especially at a time when Prime Minister Narendra Modi was taking a strong position against corruption. It had also stated that a New Delhi-based person, against whom also charges regarding the Varkala medical college matter had been made, had misused a photo with the prime minister to portray himself as an influential person at the Centre. Leader of the Opposition in the assembly Ramesh Chennithala alleged, “What has come out is a widespread corruption involving state BJP leaders under the cover of BJP-led NDA government at the Centre’.
CPI-M veteran V S Achutanandan said the anti-graft image of the saffron party leaders had “burst like bubble” due to corruption charges. Only a comprehensive CBI probe monitored by court would expose the truth in this regard, he said. Talking to reporters in Kottayam, Left Democratic Front (LDF) Convenor Vaikom Viswam demanded an investigation into the bribe allegations against the BJP leaders.