At a time when even Home Minister Rajnath Singh has dismissed the Opposition's demand for a CBI probe into the Vyapam scam, Union minister Uma Bharti on Monday said the Special Task Force has botched up the investigations. She was on every channel claiming that she was scared for her life and the lives of others whom she is accused of helping to get jobs.
How exactly is Bharti related to the scam?
There is an FIR against her in the case, which she claims has been filed to malign her reputation. Bharti said the FIR was based on the flimsy grounds that a person living in her servant quarters had helped someone get a job.
She told India Today that one Pandit Leela Dhar Pachauri used to stay in her servant quarters in Bhopal. He is one of the accused in the Vyapam scam. Bharti has been named as an accused by the police because Pachauri used to stay at her residence.
Her contention is that the same standards are not being used to investigate the involvement of Prem Chand Prasad, who was the official Personal Assistant to Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan. She says given the proximity between Prasad and Chouhan, even the CM should have been named as an accused.
Earlier this year, the Congress released some documents to prove Chouhan's involvement in the case. They alleged that the state government had tampered with an excel sheet documenting names of ministers who had made recommendations for recruitments through Vyapam. Congress alleged that Chouhan's name was changed to 'Uma Bharti' at 18 places.
Bharti has been demanding a CBI probe since the beginning.
"I have no involvement in Vyapam whatsoever. I am shocked to hear about such accusations. A sensitive person like me could have suffered a brain haemorrhage or a heart attack on hearing such allegations and died. Maybe that is what has happened with some of the others who have been found dead." - Uma Bharti, Union Minister.
Should her statements be seen as anti-Chouhan?
There is a long history of rivalry between the two. As a rival OBC leader, Chouhan's steady rise has always been a cause of heartburn for Bharti. The former Madhya Pradesh CM lost her turf to Chouhan in 2005, when he became the CM.
Given the history, Bharti's sudden return to action only complicates the problem for Chouhan and the BJP.