BHOPAL: Mining baron Sudhir Sharma, who is seen as the brain behind the Madhya Pradesh Professional Examination Board (MPPEB) scam, has surrendered before the district court, which remanded him for a day.
Sudhir, who became a billionaire in less than 10 years, owes his meteoric rise to the proximity to several BJP leaders. He had a humble beginning as a college lecturer. When the BJP came to power in the state in 2003, he left his contractual job as a lecturer in a private college and became an “officer on special duty” to Laxmikant Sharma, who was handling the Ministry of Mines and Technical Education. The BJP leader is presently in jail for his alleged involvement in the MPPEB scam.
Following the arrest of Laxmikant by the Special Task Force, which is probing the scam, Sudhir had gone underground and was declared an absconder. The court, however, gave him time till July 28 to surrender, failing which it ordered the attachment of his properties. Sudhir, accompanied by his family members and a posse of bouncers, reached the court at 11.40 am on Friday. CJM Pankaj Singh Maheshwari later remanded him in the custody of STF.
Sudhir, owner of S R Ferro Alloys and Jai Minerals, has mining interests in Rewa, Satna, Rajgarh, Sagar, Chhattarpur, Jhabua, Panna and Dhar districts. He is also the chairman of VNS Group of Colleges.
The political storm generated by the MPPEB scam, which has pushed the BJP government on the defensive, has refused to die down with new revelations cropping up on a daily basis.
Meanwhile, Ajay Dubey, member of Transparency International, has claimed that the state government had in 2005 given the license to run and manage MPonline, a government portal through which recruitment exams are conducted, to Tata Consultancy, despite the National Informatics Centre (NIC) stating that it was well placed to run the online exams as it has been doing it in other parts of the country.
He also presented a 2012 note signed by former Cabinet minister Ranjana Baghel, who had registered her objections to selecting Tata Consultancy over NIC to conduct the government recruitment exams.
According to Dubey, middlemen arrested by the Delhi Police Crime Branch in connection with the scam, have confessed that they had got the contact details of the candidates through MPonline.