A fortnight after Indore-based whistleblower Dr Anand Rai accused Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan of trying to strike a deal over his and his wife Gauri’s transfers, in a major climbdown Friday the Madhya Pradesh government agreed to reinstate the couple to Indore.
Rai, one of the main whistleblowers in the Vyapam scam, had alleged in an affidavit filed in the Indore bench of MP High Court on September 2 that Chouhan called him (Rai) to his official bungalow in Bhopal and promised to revoke the transfer orders if he stopped campaigning against him and his family members.
The court gave the government time to file an affidavit to counter the charges leveled by Rai. When no counter affidavit was filed during two hearings, the bench warned that it will draw “adverse inference’’ if it was not filed by the next day of hearing.
When the hearing resumed Friday, the advocate general, who was expected to file the counter-affidavit, told the court that the government was ready to post the couple back to Indore and pay their unpaid salary within a week.
When the couple was transferred from Indore to Dhar, the government had asserted that it was an administrative decision and that many other health department employees were also being transferred. It had argued that Rai was originally posted in Dhar but attached to Indore and was being sent back because he was not needed in Indore. Dr Gauri was first transferred to Ujjain and then to Dhar.
Rai moved the high court alleging that he was being harassed for highlighting the scam. When the matter was pending, Rai met the CM at the latter’s Shyamla Hills residence on the night of August 11.
After he filed the affidavit, a bureaucrat claimed that the meeting followed a request by Rai who wanted to share some information with the CM. Rai said he had evidence to expose what transpired during the 65-minute long meeting. He had been asked to leave his mobile with the security personnel.
After the affidavit was filed, Rai’s advocates pressed for Chouhan to be made a party to the petition. The court had stayed the transfers.
Virtually conceding defeat on Friday, the government agreed to post the couple back to Indore and pay the unpaid salary.
“Once the prayers were accepted, the matter became infructuous,’’ senior advocate Anand Mathur, who represented the couple along with another senior advocate Vivek Tankha told, The Indian Express.
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