With the number of Vyapam-linked deaths rising, Union Water Resources Minister Uma Bharti on Monday said she feared for the lives of 17 people accused of being recommended for jobs by her.
“I will speak with Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan. I will write to him about this. I now realise, and I am deeply concerned, that the lives of those 17 people, who I have no connection with, I don’t know them, but who somehow have been shown to have received a recommendation from me, might be in danger. I am concerned about their fate,” Bharati, a former Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh, said in an interview to India Today TV.
The people Bharti referred to are those whose names had figured in a spreadsheet that emerged a few months ago listing the ‘successful’ candidates and the people who recommended them.
In that list, Bharti’s name had appeared a few times as the one who had recommended some of those candidates.
“I have no involvement in Vyapam whatsoever. I am shocked to hear about such accusations. A sensitive person like me could have suffered brain haemorrhage or heart attack on hearing such allegations and died. Maybe that is what has happened with some of the others who have been found dead,” she said.
While backing Chouhan, Bharti said the Madhya Pradesh government must order an inquiry, by whatever agency, to investigate what happened during the transfer of the Vyapam case from Indore crime branch to the Special Task Force.
“When my name surfaced, it was said somebody has deliberately put my name in the list after deleting someone else’s. This cannot be done by the STF. I have full faith in the Madhya Pradesh STF. But something has happened when the case was being transferred from the Indore crime branch to the STF. I would appeal to the Chief Minister to get this particular episode probed by whatever agency he deems fit. It will clear my name, and it would help the Chief Minister as well,” she said.
Bharti said the FIR against her, based on the fact that a person living in the servant quarters of her residence had pulled strings to get a job for someone, was totally unjust.
“I was ashamed to have an FIR against my name. It hurt my prestige badly. If I did not have the standing that I have, and if people did not know me well, I would have been permanently maligned,” she said.