JAIPUR: Alleging "political protection" to those involved in an alleged scam in the Rajasthan mines department, Congress leader Sachin Pilot today demanded that an independent agency probe the case in which a senior IAS officer has been arrested.
"There appears to be political protection to officials of the mines department, including IAS officer Ashok Singhvi, and the ruling BJP government can dispose of it," Pilot claimed to reporters here.
"How come such a huge amount of cash reached a government official of mines department -- Pushkarraj Ameta in Bhilwara and Sanjay Sethi -- when ACB sleuths raided their homes," Pilot asked.
The former Union minister further alleged, "There must be a big nexus and political patronage to the mines deals."
Pilot claimed that, in about 12 months, fresh leases to 600 mines were issued in Rajasthan despite a central government directive based on a Supreme Court.
This needs to be probed by an independent agency, he said, adding that it was just the tip of the iceberg in the mines scam and many more names would be revealed if a fair probe was continued by ACB.
Senior IAS officer Ashok Singhvi, the Principal Secretary (Mines) in Rajasthan, was arrested in the wee hours today by the state Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) in the eighth arrest in a bribery case involving clearance for the reopening of six closed mines.
Pilot said that Congress would raise the issue in the state Assembly and added that it was probably the first time that such a big scam had been exposed by ACB officials.
ACB, which yesterday conducted three raids in Udaipur and Bhilwara, claimed to have seized total illicit cash of Rs 3.82 crore. Of that, Rs 2.55 crore was to be delivered allegedly to Singhvi and other officers.
Meanwhile, addressing an Indian Youth Parliament (IYP) event here, Pilot said he was in favour of the youths participation in active politics.
The Rajasthan Pradesh Congress Committee President also said that political parties should be made accountable for their poll promises following victory at the hustings.
"Every political party makes a list of promises during elections, but a few of those promises are fulfilled," he said.
As the Election Commission has no power in this regard, there should be reforms to hold political parties to their poll promises, Pilot said.
Asked about "money and power" playing an important role in the selection of candidate in elections, Pilot said that most parties go for winnable candidates and that, in this regard, the options are some times restricted.
"Bad people are elected because good people are not contesting... We have to change that," he averred.