Rahul attacks Chouhan over Vyapam scam, targets PM on Rafale

Gwalior (MP): Congress president Rahul Gandhi Monday alleged that Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan’s family was involved in the multi-crore-rupee Vyapam scam that came to light a few years ago.

On the campaign trail in Madhya Pradesh, where the Assembly polls will be held on November 28, Gandhi said the massive recruitment and admission racket destroyed the future of lakhs of students in the state.

He also targeted Prime Minister Narendra Modi over the Rafale fighter jet deal and his alleged proximity with a handful of industrialists.

Addressing a public meeting at the Phool Bagh Maidan here, Gandhi said, “Fifty people were killed in the Vyapam scam. The future of lakhs of students was destroyed. People gave money to clear the exams (conducted by a state-run body).

“I want to know from Shivraj Singh Chouhan, how many people were sent to jail? The entire Madhya Pradesh knows that the chief minister’s family is involved in the scam.”

In the past, Chouhan has denied his or his family’s involvement in any recruitment test conducted by the Madhya Pradesh Professional Examination Board, popularly known by its Hindi acronym — “Vyapam” (Vyavsayik Pariksha Mandal).

The scam also hogged limelight for the death of a number of accused and witnesses.

Taking potshots at Modi, Gandhi said the prime minister made false promises.

“Who does the marketing of the prime minister? Who gives the money for his posters and his appearances on TV. This money is taken out of your (people’s) pocket and given to Anil Ambani, Nirav Modi and Vijay Mallya, who are doing his marketing. This is the truth,” he added.

The Congress chief said Modi had promised to be the “chowkidar” (guard) of the people, but only 15-20 industrialists of the country had benefitted under his government.

He said the prime minister let jewellers Nirav Modi and Mehul Choksi and liquor baron Vijay Mallya flee India with the country’s money.

Nirav Modi and his uncle Mehul Choksi are the key accused in the multi-crore Punjab National Bank (PNB) scam, while Mallya, who is currently in the UK, is wanted in India for charges of money laundering and defaulting on bank loans.

Referring to the Rafale deal, Gandhi said the prime minister did not have the courage to answer why the offset contract for the French aircraft was “snatched” from the State-run Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) and given to Anil Ambani’s firm.

Led by the Congress, the opposition parties are attacking the Modi government, alleging that it is procuring 36 Rafale fighter jets from France at an exorbitantly high cost.

The government has denied charges of irregularities in the Rs 58,000-crore deal and Ambani, too, has dismissed the Congress’s allegations that he got undue benefits under it.

Earlier, Gandhi held a five-km roadshow in Gwalior after paying obeisance at the Achleshwar Mahadev temple.

The Congress president also paid a visit to Jhansi’s legendary queen Rani Laxmi Bai’s memorial in the Phool Bagh area.

He also paid tribute to late Congress stalwart Madhavrao Scindia at his memorial here.

Congress leader and Scindia’s son Jyotiraditya Scindia and state Congress president Kamal Nath were present on the occasion.

Gandhi is on a two-day visit to Madhya Pradesh, where his party is out of power since 2003.

He will take a night halt in Gwalior and visit a gurdwara located in the Gwalior Fort Tuesday morning, before holding roadshows and public meetings at Jaura, Sabalgarh and Sheopur later in the day.

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