A mining baron arrested for being a prime manipulator in the deadly Vyapam scam had paid for the air tickets and other expenses of top BJP and RSS leaders, according to a 2013 income tax report.
The document shows a direct money trail between the billionaire, Sudhir Sharma and senior politicians, reports NDTV. Yet the matter was never pursued by state police investigators who had been investigating into the scam until the CBI took over this week.
Sudhir Sharma, whose business empire includes mines as well as colleges, had made “huge payments in cash for air tickets, travel bills, etc” including those for state party president Parabhat Jha and RSS’s Suresh Soni, the document alleges.
Diaries recovered in raids at Sharma’s house and offices also showed “payments for travel arrangements of important political personalities” like former MP Mining and Education Minister Laxmikant Sharma and now Union minister Dharmendra Pradhan.
Pradhan had then denied the allegations, saying, “The party office booked my ticket. I have no link to Sudhir Sharma.”
Sharma was arrested and jailed in July 2014 after six months of dodging arrest. His boss Laxmikant Sharma had been arrested one month before him.
As many as 48 people related to Vyapam has lost their lives in mysterious circumstances. The Vyapam scam is a huge admission and recruitment scandal involving politicians, bureaucrats and middlemen. Several politicians, including former state Education Minister Laxmikant Sharma, a host of officials and aspirants have been arrested in the case.