Stronger murmurs against MP regime
Strange things are happening in Madhya Pradesh. Vyapam whistleblower Ashish Chaturvedi has sought protection from Chambal ex-dacoits and several top BJP leaders, including veteran former chief minister Babulal Gaur, has accused state government of serious irregularities in Kshipra river clean-up project and demanded probe.
Frustrated by what he calls Madhya Pradesh police's "tantrums" over giving him suitable security cover, Vyapam scam whistleblower Ashish Chaturvedi now wants surrendered dacoits and rebels of the Chambal bad lands for his safety. To work this out, Chaturvedi has sought help from former 'big-ticket' dacoit Malkhan Singh, who struck terror in the heart of the Chambal ravines in the 1980s.
On his part, Malkhan Singh, who now calls himself a 'rebel', says he is impressed by Chaturvedi's brave efforts and can take care of his security, provided the state government allots weapons and pays half the money it gives to personal security officers (PSOs) from the police department.
In his seventies now, Malkhan, with an 'impressive' tally of 100 cases of dacoity, murder and kidnapping, had been quite a draw in the Chambal badlands. And now, he seems to have got a protectee in Chaturvedi.
"Today, I cannot stand with him all the time, but there are many like me living a deprived life since they surrendered before the police. The government failed to rehabilitate them," the ex-dacoit told media. "If police don't want to provide him security, we can... if the government permits and meet our demands," the ex-dacoit said. Chaturvedi has allegedly received more than 14 death threats and three attempts have been made to terminate him, including one in which a particular Vyapam scam undertrial threatened to cut him "into pieces".
"No matter what, I will not budge. Police have changed more than 200 PSOs in the last three years. Now they are troubling me by putting me and my family under 24X7 camera surveillance," Chaturvedi said. "My sister's wedding is due on Tuesday. I have asked the police to record the entire ceremony, so that I won't have to arrange for a professional videographer to record it," added the peeved activist. Chaturvedi, 27, a Gwalior-based social activist, is one of four key whistleblowers in the Vyapam scam.
Next day, the report about his seeking protection from dacoits appeared in media and Ashis Chaturvedi was attacked in Gwalior, according to reports reaching here from Gwalior.
“Just a day before his appearance in court, Vyapam whistleblower Ashish Chaturvedi was attacked by four youths and threatened that his entire family would be wiped out if he continued with his activism. His PSO was also manhandled, said sources.”
This comes on the heels of Chaturvedi's request to Malkhan Singh, Chambal's terror in the 1980s, to be protected by a band of surrendered dacoits.
The attack took place at 5.30pm near Gwalior's City Centre area when Chaturvedi was distributing wedding invitation cards of his younger sister. Prompt action by Gwalior IG Anil Kumar and SP Dr Ashish led to the arrest of one the accused within a few hours, said sources.
"I was standing near a tea stall when four of them came in a car and started abusing me. They attacked me without provocation. When my security guard tried to save me, he too was manhandled," said Chaturvedi. He has to appear on court on Monday to record his statement against scam suspect Rahul Yadav.
"Threats come every time there is a hearing. There is something fishy in this. But I am not scared," he said. Chaturvedi 's security guard Ramvir Singh has given his statement to police, saying the accused came in a car with registration number MP07CC 9846, registered in the name of Sanjeev Rajoria, a resident of Amaltas Colony. Before fleeing, the attackers threatened that Chaturvedi's entire family would be shot dead and he "cannot do anything against accused Deepak and Rahul Yadav". IG Anil Kumar and SP Dr Ashish have assured him complete security cover during the marriage on February 28.
"One of the accused has been arrested and we are looking for the rest," the SP said. This is the fifteenth attack on Chaturvedi, who is complainant in the case against Rahul Yadav.
He had alleged despite Rahul having failed in Class 12 he was given admission in Gwalior Medical College. Rahul's brother Deepak Yadav is a key accused in the Vyapam scam.
In 2015, Chaturvedi had approached police demanding more security. His former PSO Ramji Chaubey filed a police complaint that he overheard a group of people saying Chaturvedi would be cut to pieces if he testified in court against Vyapam accused.
BJP MLA from Ujjain South, Mohan Yadav, had written a letter to the Speaker and principal secretary of MP assembly demanding a debate in the House on pollution in river Kshipra.
Yadav has now the backing of Gaur and some more BJP leaders who want an inquiry into alleged high-level corruption in Kshipra river conservation plan. "This is a serious matter as the state has spent a sum of Rs 650 crore in the cleaning of Kshipra during Kumbh. If sewage water is being released into the river through multiple sources after such a huge expenditure then government should take immediate action to check the contamination," Gaur said.
The issue has also given the opposition an opportunity to raise questions. The party had also alleged corruption during Simhastha 2016. Congress state spokesperson K K Mishra said that party senior leader from Ujjain, Noori Khan launched a protest against pollution in the river on Saturday but, she was arrested by the police.
This allegation has been levelled at a time when the Madhya Pradesh Vidhan Sabha is in session. The government is already facing serious issues including the involvement of some party leaders having link with the RSS acting as ISI agents. (IPA)