MINISTER for Cooperatives Gaurishankar Bisen was on Tuesday booked for allegedly offering bribes to journalists,a violation of the model code of conduct.
The ministers act of handing over gift-wrapped wristwatches to local journalists at a hotel in Seoni on Saturday was caught on the camera. He was booked under Sections 171 (B) and 171 (E) of the IPC. The maximum punishment for this violation of the code of conduct is one year,or fine,or both.
Chief Electoral Officer J N Mathur told The Indian Express that the Election Commission had asked the minister to give an explanation within 48 hours.
A Tehsildar was placed under immediate suspension for not sending a report of the matter to the District Magistrate. Bisen has also been accused of threatening a local journalist.
When contacted,Bisen claimed that he was yet to receive any notice either from the District Collector or the Election Commission. I will explain my position when I get the notice, he said,alleging that he was being framed because he had announced that he would contest against Union Commerce Minister Kamal Nath from Chhindwara Lok Sabha constituency.
Bisen was among the several BJP Lok Sabha MPs who had contested the recent Assembly elections. The Balaghat MP resigned his membership after winning from Balaghat Assembly constituency. The Opposition parties had complained to the EC against Bisen,who also holds the Public Health Engineering portfolio,after a local news channel telecast the Saturdays proceedings.
Seoni SP Meenakshi Sharma said the case was registered on the basis of a report filed by a Sub-Divisional Magistrate that showed the minister gifting watches to journalists inside a hotel.
The Congress had accused Seoni Collector Manohar Dubey of being partisan by not sending a report to his superiors. Dubey,who was deputy secretary in the Chief Ministers secretariate,had recently been transferred to Seoni.
On Tuesday,the Congress said the Chief Minister should ask the minister to immediately resign from his post. The Governor should intervene and sack the minister if the Chief Minister fails to act against him,Congress spokesman Manak Agrawal said.