Investigation into Madhya Pradesh Industry Minister Kailash Vijayvargiya’s role in sale of land owned by the Indore municipality could not begin on Wednesday. This is because the police officer concerned did not appear before the Lokayukta.
The Lokayukta (ombudsman) declined to record the statements of Congress leader Suresh Seth as the superintendent of police (SP), Virendra Kumar Singh, was not present.
Singh was also supposed to give statements before the Lokayukta.
The Lokayukta is the highest body in states to probe corruption charges against ministers.
Seth had brought charges of wrongdoing against Vijayvargiya in the multi-crore deal. “The SP expressed inability (to attend the proceedings), so the hearing was put off. They didn’t give me the next date,” he told HT.
The persons expected to be questioned by the Lokayukta are the head of the credit cooperative society that bought the three-acre municipal tract, Ramesh Mendola, a confidant of Vijayvargiya; Dhanlaxmi Chemical Industry partners Vijay Kothari and Manish Sanghvi; and Vijayvargiya himself.
“This (the delay) can dilute the case,” a bureaucrat said.
Seth has alleged that in 1980 the municipality leased the land to Dhanlaxmi Chemical Industry for 30 years.
But in 2004, when Vijayvargiya was Indore mayor, Dhanalaxmi sold the land to Nagar Sakh Sahkari Sanstha Maryadit, headed by his Mendola, for Rs 1.28 crore, though the market price was more than Rs 65 crore.
Mendola was then mayor-in-council of the municipality.
Congress spokesperson K.K. Mishra has raised doubts on the fairness of the Lokayukta probe into the deal involving Vijayvargiya, alleging connections between the Lokayukta, Justice P.P. Navlekar, and the minister.
Justice Navlekar, however, refuted the allegation. He said the charge would not impact the probe.