In a formal complaint to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, a suspended woman IAS officer has alleged that, Madhya Pradesh chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan is anti-Dalit and protects bureaucrats who posses ‘benami’ properties worth billions of rupees.
“Officers close to Shivraj have acquired many ‘benami’ properties during the years because of their status in the government and the large scale corruption happening in Madhya Pradesh,” suspended Dalit IAS officer Shashi Karnawat wrote in her complaint.
While such corrupt officers were protected by the chief minister, their Dalit colleagues were mistreated, Karnawat alleged in the letter.
As an example, Karnawat quoted an instance when Dalit IAS officer Ramesh Thete was allegedly ‘discriminated against’ and ‘mistreated’ by additional chief secretary Radheshyam Julaniya.
Thete, told HT on December 7 this year, Julaniya had violated an order passed by the panchayat and rural development ministry simply to target him. “In January, I was empowered to hear and decide cases as a secretary of the panchayat rural development ministry. However, Julaniya stayed the order in November. He violated the rules solely to target me, because I am a member of the scheduled caste and scheduled tribe community,” he had said at that time.
The Madhya Pradesh government had suspended Karnawat after the Mandla district court sentenced her to a five-year jail in 2013 in a corruption case (zila panchayat printing scam of 1999-2000). Promoted to the IAS in 1999, she was a deputy secretary in the youth and sports welfare department before her suspension.
Karnawat had started the hunger strike early December, demanding her reinstatement. On December 10, she wept near the statue of BR Ambedkar at Board Office Crossing in MP Nagar, alleging discrimination against her by the state government.
In the complaint letter to PM Modi, she wrote about ‘injustice’ meted out to her by the chief minister.
“The chief minister levelled false charges against me and even called his favourite officers to give false evidence. When I protested, they assured me that justice would be granted but instead suspended me from office.”
Calling Chouhan ‘anti-Dalit’, she wrote that the BJP is being seen as an anti-Dalit party, because of the abuse faced by them.
Karnawat also requested the CBI to raid and investigate the ‘benami’ properties in the state.