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HindustanTimes Fri,19 Dec 2014

Digvijay slams Chouhan over mining controversy

HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times  Bhopal, July 29, 2013
First Published: 11:42 IST(29/7/2013) | Last Updated: 11:52 IST(29/7/2013)

With names of several more top RSS and BJP leaders allegedly figuring in the diaries of Dileep Suryavanshi and Sudhir Sharma as those whose air travel bills were footed by Sharma, Opposition Congress has stepped up its attack on the ruling BJP.

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The leaders, whose names have found mention in the diaries, are RSS strongman Suresh Soni, former BJP state president Prabhat Jha, minister for culture and higher education Laxmikant Sharma, Rajya Sabha member Anil Dave, Uttam Swamy and Tapan Bhaumik.

I-T sleuths in their post-raid investigation got the information corraborated from ledger books of M/s Air Aman Travels (who used to book the tickets for Sudhir Sharma and his VNS group), which showed that payments were made to the travel company on a regular basis against air tickets booked for RSS and BJP leaders.

On Friday, it was revealed in media reports emanating from Delhi that two ministers of Shivraj cabinet, Laxmikant Sharma and Rajendra Shukla had allegedly received bribe from Sharma and Suryavanshi.

Pankaj Chaturvedi of Air Aman Travels, who is also a Congress leader, said, “We have been in this business since 1995.

It was a purely commercial activity. We had given all the details of Sudhir Sharma’s bookings. I would say 30% of the BJP’s bills were paid by Sharma.”

While the BJP leaders denied the charge, RSS chief spokesperson Manmohan Vaidya when apprised of the charge against Soni said “Such allegations are seldom true though I have not seen the media reports on the issue as I am in Hyderabad.”

All India Congress Committee ( AICC) general secretary Digvijay Singh demanded that the chief minister should immediately sack Laxmikant Sharma and Rajendra Shukla from his cabinet.

Leader of Opposition in the state assembly Ajay Singh on Sunday reiterated the demand for chief minister’s resignation in the matter on moral grounds.

He said information unearthed from the diaries was reason enough for the CM to step down as then leader of Opposition in the state assembly Dr Gaurishankar was removed from his post after it was speculated that his name was there in the diary of Som Group proprietor as a beneficiary.

“If it was not the reason to remove him, was he removed because he was scheduled caste?” asked Singh.

He said the diaries recovered from the two businessmen show that RSS and BJP leaders like Suresh Soni, Prabhat Jha and Anil Madhav Dave, who are not tired of giving lectures on morality and ethics, were on Sudhir Sharma’s pay roll.

Singh said the chief minister can’t escape blame in the matter because his close kin are themselves involved in illegal mining and were also receiving ‘cut’ from mining mafia.


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