In a sharp attack on Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan, the Congress on Thursday alleged that the chief minister had misused his position to get a manganese mine allotted to his wife Sadhna Singh Chouhan.
The party alleged that an attempt was made to hide this allotment by getting the mine leased in the name of ‘Mrs SS Chouhan’ without mentioning her complete name.
However, in a hurriedly called press conference higher education minister Umashankar Gupta termed the document furnished by the state Congress’ chief spokesperson KK Mishra in this regard as a forged one and said they were considering taking legal actions against Mishra.
Addressing a press conference, Congress chief spokesperson KK Mishra alleged that a firm SS Minerals registered in CM's wife Sadhna Singh's name was leased 17.9 acres of land for mining in Balaghat district, for a period of January 2007 till January 2017.
He alleged that in the lease agreement document, the name of chief minister's wife was entered as 'Mrs SS Chouhan' to conceal her real name, identity and relationship with the CM.
"It is a case of serious misconduct and the CM should resign on moral grounds", he said.
He alleged the lease was allotted to Sadhna Singh when the CM had mining portfolio in the cabinet with him.
Mishra said that he would make a complaint to the central bureau of investigation (CBI) about misuse of CM’s post and conspiracy with the officials to get the lease of the mine apart from irregularities in the process.
Higher education minister Uma Shankar Gupta refuted the allegations levelled by the Congress by saying that the Congress’ charges were baseless and were born out of frustration. The document furnished by him was a forged one.
Gupta provided a list of mining lessees of Balaghat district from the year 1966 t0 2014 which didn’t have the name of SS Minerals or Mrs SS Chouhan.
Further, he said the khasra number cited by Congress spokesperson KK Mishra was not of Ponia village but that of Jagan Tola village.
The said land, he said was allotted for mining to one Lila Bhalavi and presently her son Ashok Uikey operated a mine there. He also said that Ashok Uikey was linked in some way to the Congress party.
Gupta also said CM never held the mining portfolio as was claimed by KK Mishra. In fact, there was nothing in the charges of Mishra which matched reality.
On being asked if the CM would initiate defamation or criminal proceedings against KK Mishra, the minister said the issue was being discussed.
Also, Gupta said that the CM and his wife have not reacted on the issue. "I am more than enough to comment on the issue," he said. However, when contacted KK Mishra said, “I have the proof to corroborate the charges. They will be proved correct."