How Rajasthan BJP leaders tried to stall Meghwal’s entry to Modi cabinet

  • Aparnesh Goswami, Hindustan Times, Bikaner
  • Updated: Jul 06, 2016 20:55 IST
(From left) BJP MP Subramanian Swamy with party veteran LK Advani and new minister of state for finance Arjun Ram Meghwal at the Parliament House in New Delhi on Wednesday. (Sonu Mehta/ HT Photo)

When Arjun Ram Meghwal was waiting for a call from the Prime Minister’s Office at his residence in Delhi, BJP leaders from Bikaner and Sriganganagar were busy calling up the chief minister’s office and state party headquarters to stall his entry into the union council of ministers.

The BJP leader from Bikaner, who did not want to be named, said a dossier of two corruption cases against Meghwal registered when he was the district collector of Churu — his last posting as a bureaucrat before he took a plunge into politics — was sent to the chief minister’s office on Monday evening.

In the first case, filed in 2011, a complainant Hakam Ali alleged that as the then district collector, Meghwal allotted plots of land meant for war widows to his relatives.

The case was investigated three times by the state anti-corruption bureau (ACB) but a closure report was filed by the investigating agency.

In July 2014, a trial court, however, refused to accept the closure report and directed the ACB chief to get an officer of the rank of superintendent of police, to probe the case.

Meghwal’s son, Ravi said his father moved high court against the trial court’s refusal to accept the closure report and in January 2015, the HC stayed the proceedings in the case. “It is pending in the high court now,” he told Hindustan Times.

In the other case, Jethmal Khatri, another complainant, filed complaint with the ACB against Meghwal for not complying with norms in allotting a mining lease in Randhisar Hill in 2007-08. Ravi Meghwal, however, said that the case was closed by the ACB.

State BJP vice president Nand Kishor Solanki said that he was unaware of any corruption cases against Meghwal. “All party leaders, including the local unit are overwhelmed about Meghwal being made a Union minister and are celebrating the occasion,” he said.

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