BHOPAL: Former Madhya Pradesh Technical Education and Public Relations Minister Laxmikant Sharma was on Sunday taken into custody by the Special Task Force (STF) in connection with the multi-crore scam related to recruitment tests conducted by the MP Professional Examination Board. “We went to his residence in the morning and questioned him for two hours. However, Sharma was not able to answer our questions convincingly. He has been taken into custody and is likely to be presented in court on Monday,” a senior STF official told Express.
Officials said Sharma’s name was likely to figure in at least two different cases related to the scam. Sharma, considered one of the most powerful ministers in the last government, lost the 2013 Assembly election from the Sironj constituency in Vidisha district. Before losing the election, Sharma was considered as the number two in the Shivraj Singh Chouhan Cabinet and was holding key ministries such as mining, public relations, technical education and culture. Officials said one of the allegations against Sharma was that as a technical education minister he recruited contract teachers by taking bribe. The STF has also found evidence to suggest that Sharma also facilitated admission to ineligible students in medical colleges in return for bribe. He has been booked along with 130 others in the case.
The arrest of Sharma, till now considered beyond police’s reach because of his proximity to the RSS, is being linked to a recent observation of the Jabalpur High Court, which warned the state that if the SIT didn’t probe the case properly, it would be forced to transfer the case to the CBI.