Madhya Pradesh minister seeks probe against himself

October 9th, 2008 - 1:06 pm ICT by IANS  

Bharatiya Janata PartyBhopal, Oct 9 (IANS) Madhya Pradesh Food and Civil Supplies Minister Akhand Pratap Singh has sprung a surprise by walking into the office of the Lokayukta - the state’s ombudsman - and seeking an inquiry into complaints levelled against him by Congress party spokesperson K.K. Mishra.In the absence of Lokayukta Ripusudan Dayal, Akhand Pratap Singh, a senior member of the state’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) submitted a letter to his deputy and declared he would cooperate fully in the inquiry against him.

The minister also sent a copy of the letter - addressed to the Lokayukt Dayal - to Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan and demanded an early inquiry into the allegations made by Mishra.

Mishra had last month filed three complaints with Dayal seeking registration of a case of corruption against Akhand Pratap Singh under the Prevention of Corruption Act and the Indian Penal Code.

Mishra had also urged Chief Minister Chouhan to dismiss the minister to prove his claim of corruption-free rule in the state.

In his complaint Mishra had alleged the minister was involved in a number of corruption cases including accepting bribe of Rs.2 million to allow reopening of a petrol pump in the state capital which was closed earlier for selling adulterated fuel.

Mishra’s complaint to the Lokayukta against Akhand Pratap Singh included an affidavit which a BJP activist from Akhand Pratap Singh’s own Tikamgarh district, Vrindavan Yadav, was said to have given to the chief minister. It alleged that the minister had taken Rs.80,000 from him with the promise of providing a job to his son.

Yadav requested the chief minister in his affidavit to prevail upon the minister to return his money with interest, says the complaint to the Lokayukta.

In another case, Mishra said, Akhand Pratap Singh had revoked the suspension of a kerosene dealer, who was allegedly responsible for the disappearance of 83,300 litres of kerosene in Rajgarh district.

The minister also distributed fair price shops in Tikamgarh district to panchayats instead of cooperative societies as he should have done, the Congress leader had alleged.

Akhand Pratap Singh is a minister earlier known for his crusade against corruption.

He was included in the Chouhan cabinet as food and civil supplies minister in August 2007. Soon after, he created ripples by ordering raids on PDS shops against which there were complaints of malpractices. PDS or public distribution shops are meant to provide food grains and a few other essentuial ietms to people below the poverty line at prices fixed by the government.

Most of these shops were run by activists or supporters of the BJP.

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