Earlier last week, India TV sacked Hemant Sharma, the man widely believed to be behind the expansion of Rajat Sharma’s media empire. Hemant’s resignation came amidst reports that CBI was tightening its grip over individuals involved in suspected fraud in medical education.
It’s not clear why India TV would sack the man who had been an inseparable part of Rajat Sharma’s growth as a media moghul in India. But what Rajat said about his long-time associate made it abundantly clear that that Hemant was sacked because of his name appearing among the suspects, accused o corruption.
He told Hindustan Times, “I have zero tolerance for any wrongdoing.”
Hemant, for his part, said that he had chosen to step down to focus on his ‘first love’ writing. He said, “I have decided to take a sabbatical from my long career for my first love of writing but I will always be available to India TV.”
Hemant’s ouster from India TV coincided with the arrests of three people on charges that they were planning to bribe government officials to get a ban on a medical college overturned. He was close to at least two accused.
The federal probe agency, CBI, had registered an FIR against Narendra Singh, son Kunwar Nishant, VK Sharma and his son Vaibbhav. The four individuals were accused of planning to bribe health ministry officials to get a ban on one medical school revoked. The CBI had arrested three accused except Narendra Singh a day later.
According to CBI, Singhs were responsible for managing the affairs of the World College of Medical Science and Research and Hospital in Hayana’s Jhajjar. This college was among 46 other institutes, banned by the government from enrolling students for a year or two.
The accused were hoping to bribe the health ministry officials through someone with good contacts. Hemant Sharma, who’s a resident of Noida’s Sector 44, was known to be extremely close to VK Sharma and his son, who had also hosted a gala party to celebrate the wedding of Hemant Sharma’s daughter in June.
The matter had gained political colour last week when Aam Aadmi Party wrote to Union Health Minister JP Nadda seeking his response.
Senior AAP leader Ashutosh said that ‘The World College of Medical Sciences’, run by Narender and Kunwar Nishant, was barred from admitting students by the Supreme Court for having substandard facilities and non-fulfillment of required criteria.
He also alleged, citing an FIR, that the deal for lifting of ban on the medical college involved “huge sum of money” which was to be paid to “senior most functionary” in Health ministry through a journalist. “An inquiry should be conducted in it,” said Ashutosh, who circulated a copy of the FIR.
Party spokesperson Sanjay Singh too alleged “corruption” in the ministry. “Prime Minister Narendra Modi gave the slogan of quit corruption. But, if his resolve is genuine then he should answer these questions,” Singh said.
(With PTI inputs)