Calls grew on Friday for Madhya Pradesh governor Ramnaresh Yadav to step down after reports emerged that his office had pushed for the recruitment of three candidates through a competitive professional exam that is now at the centre of a massive corruption scandal.
Accusing Yadav of entering into an “unholy” alliance with the Shivraj Chouhan government, opposition Congress party workers also held noisy protests outside chief minister Shivraj Chouhan’s residence during the day, forcing police to use water canons to disperse the crowd. The party has sought both Yadav and Chouhan’s resignation.
The governor’s name emerged after the two main accused in the Professional Examination Board (PEB) scam, Pankaj Trivedi and Nitin Mahindra, revealed to investigators that they got three recommendations for recruitment from the governor’s office.
The fraud involved multiple rackets that helped candidates rig the examinations for money, including employing imposters to write test papers, manipulating sitting arrangements as well as supplying forged answer sheets.
The PEB exams are run by the government and used to select candidates for a wide variety of professional courses, including doctors as well as for jobs in government agencies and police.
The governor's former personal assistant Dhanraj Yadav is already an accused in the scandal for getting several people recruited through a racket that manipulated the PEB recruitment process.
Trivedi was the chief controller of examination of the PEB, the nodal agency for conducting exams for major recruitments in the state. Mahindra was the chief system analyst at the PEB. Both are currently in judicial custody for their alleged role in rigging several PEB exams since 2008.
Yadav was appointed by the Congress-led UPA government nearly three years ago.
Ajay Singh, the former leader of opposition in the state assembly, urged Yadav to step down immediately. Despite repeated attempts the governor's office could not be contacted for comments.
Congress leaders also pointed to the involvement of two Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh officials -- former sarsanghachalak late KS Sudarshan and senior RSS functionary Suresh Soni whose names have been doing the rounds as accused in connection with the exam conducted by PEB in 2012.
Sources said the names of top RSS functionaries are included in the statements of prime accused in PEB scam –Trivedi and one of the accused candidates Mihir Kumar.
These statements are part of documents submitted by the investigators in the Bhopal district court while making former minister Laxmikant Sharma an accused in the food inspector recruitment exam scam. Sharma is currently in judicial custody.
Several separate cases have been registered as part of the investigations into the scam. About 300 people have been arrested so far and the admission or selection of 1,100 candidates has been cancelled.
The Jabalpur High Court is monitoring the investigations by a Special Task Force set up by the government.