A Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) worker, Manoj Tripathi, set himself on fire near the gates of the Raj Bhavan in Bhopal on Wednesday, demanding outgoing governor Ram Naresh Yadav’s arrest for his alleged involvement in the Vyapam scam.
It was 88-year-old Yadav’s last day at the Madhya Pradesh Raj Bhavan.
The man from the city’s Kolar Road area was standing behind the guards at the gates and sneaked through the picket when the governor’s motorcade was about to come out around 4.30pm to take him to the airport.
Tripathi set himself ablaze before the cops could react and tried to jump in front of the convoy. But the policemen caught the man, shouting hysterically in a burning shirt.
“They tore off his shirt before taking him for a medical examination. Doctors said Tripathi suffered minor burns, superintendent of police Anshuman Singh said.
Tripathi was later brought to Jahangirabad police station.
He alleged the governor was involved in rigging a forest guard recruitment drive, which is a part of the Vyapam scam. “He is responsible for all the deaths connected to the scam and must be arrested,” he shouted on the way to the hospital.
Police found a piece of paper and a business card on him. “Kali kamai ke kalakar Ram Naresh Yadav ko giraftar karo, giraftar karo” was printed on the paper.
The 88-year-old Yadav was appointed governor on September 8, 2011, for five years. A couple of years later, his officer on special duty, Dhanraj Yadav, son Shailesh Yadav and his own name got engulfed in the Vyapam scam.
A nexus of politicians, bureaucrats and businessmen in Madhya Pradesh is suspected to be involved in the multi-crore scam in exams to select candidates for a wide range of jobs and professional courses, including medical colleges. The Madhya Pradesh Professional Examination Board (MPPEB), popularly known by its Hindi acronym Vyapam, conducted the exams.
Gujarat governor OP Kohali will take additional charge of Madhya Pradesh. He reached the Raj Bhavan in Bhopal soon after Yadav left. He will take the oath of office on Thursday.
For his part, Yadav without his gubernatorial immunity may be arrested if investigators find any evidence against him in the scam. The central agency is investigating the case, which was exposed when Indore police found in 2013 multiple rackets rigging the pre-medical test.