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‘Mining barons paid Soni,BJP MP bills’

After the recovery of the diaries from Sudhir Sharma and his associates,the Income Tax seized account books of various travel agents

Suresh Soni,the RSS’s pointsman in the BJP,is among several leaders and bureaucrats whose travel bills were allegedly footed by Bhopal-based influential businessman Sudhir Sharma. This is what an Income Tax investigation claims to have found in alleged bribe diaries maintained by SR group’s Sudhir Sharma and DBL group’s Dilip Suryavanshi.

After the recovery of the diaries from Sudhir Sharma and his associates,the Income Tax seized account books of various travel agents to verify the entries.

Its report,a copy of which is with The Sunday Express,says,“During the course of post-search investigation,M/s Air Aman Travels submitted ledger accounts of Dr Sudhir Sharma & VNS group. Mostly,the payments were shown to have been received in cash by Air Aman Travels from Sudhir Sharma and VNS on the particular dates mentioned against the travelling bills of Dr Sudhir Sharma,Suresh Soni,Uttam Swamy,Brigesh Lunawat ets. Thus the authenticity of the said documents is proved.”

The Income-Tax report further said,“It may be noted that payments of travel arrangements of important political personalities including Hon’ble Minister Shri Lakshmikant Sharma,Anil Dave,Rajya Sabha MP,Suresh Soni,Prabhat Jha,MP and ex-state BJP president,& Tapan Bhoumik,secretary of the MP state BJP,have been made on regular basis.”

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Soni,an RSS joint general secretary,refused to comment,while Jha was not immediately available for a reaction.

The Indian Express had reported on Saturday that the Income-Tax Department had roped in the CBI,Enforcement Directorate and Lokayukta to probe two senior Madhya Pradesh ministers after it recovered diaries from mining barons Sudhir Sharma and Dilip Suryavanshi with entries alleging the ministers had been paid bribes. The businessmen are perceived to be close to the ruling BJP.

The Congress Saturday sought the resignation of both the ministers — Rajendra Shukla (Mineral Resources) and Laxmikant Sharma (Technical Education,Public Relations,Religious Trusts and Culture) — as well as Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan.

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The Income-Tax report annexes with it copies of air ticket details for June to August of 2010. These details show Soni travelled from Delhi to Bhopal on August 4 and from Dehradun to Delhi on August 12. The papers show Sharma was in the same Dehradun-Delhi flight.

The Income-Tax Department also conducted raids on tour operator M/s Travels India Tourism Private Limited in Bhopal and allegedly found details of air travel by Soni and other BJP leaders. “It was found that Shri Sudhir Sharma has made huge payments in cash on account of air tickets,travelling etc in the name of Shri Suresh Soni,Uttam Swamy,Sanjay Saraf,Prabhat Jha,” says the Income-Tax report.

The alleged entries are only from one of the diaries kept at the ‘3,Zone-II,MP Nagar’ office of Sudhir Sharma. According to the report,“they include payments to travel agents on account of travel arrangements of politicians and bureaucrats and even cash payments to politicians/journalist/relatives & trusted associates of politicians”.

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Demanding that Chouhan resign immediately on moral grounds,Madhya Pradesh Leader of the Opposition Ajay Singh said: “The CM has no right to remain in office any more.”

First published on: 28-07-2013 at 02:05:27 am
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