Madhya Pradesh minister resigns after tax raids on kin

June 2nd, 2008 - 10:17 pm ICT by IANS  

Bhopal, June 2 (IANS) Madhya Pradesh Health Minister Ajay Vishnoi Monday submitted his resignation after income tax raids on his brother Abhay Vishnoi’s premises last week and mounting pressure from the opposition Congress for a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) probe into supply of medicines by the state government. Vishnoi, in his resignation letter to Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan, has said: “Although I have not done anything wrong, I am resigning from the post of health minister because the Congress party and others were maligning the image of the government and the party (Bharatiya Janata Party).”

About 40 teams of the income tax department involving 200 personnel conducted simultaneous searches at the premises of senior health department officials and businessmen engaged in the supply of medicines at Bhopal, Indore, Gwalior and Jabalpur last week.

Among those whose premises were raided were Home Secretary Rajesh Rajora, who has since resigned from the post, Director of Health Ashok Sharma, retired Indian Administrative Service (IAS) official U.K. Samal, and builder-turned-newspaper owner Arun Sehlot.

A few officials of the Madhya Pradesh Small Industries Development Corporation (MPSIDC), through which the medicines are purchased by the state government, also were searched.

Director General (investigations) S.S. Rana said that the raids resulted in seizure of cash and jewellery worth Rs. 11.3 million.

“While the documents seized in Jabalpur indicated payment to officials, those seized from Mandsor point out towards huge investments in property in the name of in-laws of an official who has also remained health commissioner in the state,” he added.

Rajora, an IAS official, was state’s health commissioner before being posted as home secretary.

Meanwhile, the main opposition has demanded a CBI probe into the medicines scam.

“Now that cash and property disproportionate to the income of several officials involved in the purchase of medicines and those linked to them has surfaced during the recently conducted raids, our stand has been vindicated,” state unit president Suresh Pachouri told reporters here.

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