Graft charge over MCI approval hits Kerala BJP; Party denies it
Thiruvananthapuram: The BJP's Kerala unit has come under a cloud following a purported internal report on alleged corruption by some leaders in the grant of MCI clearance for a private college, a charge denied by the saffron party.
Seizing upon the purported report, ruling CPI-M and opposition Congress demanded a CBI probe into the matter.
A section of the media quoted the purported report of the BJP's internal committee that claimed Rs 5.60 crore had been given to a party functionary for getting the approval of Medical Council of India (MCI) to the college in nearby Varkala.
As per the report, a party worker and convener of its co- operative cell, had received the amount from a businessman, who runs the college.
However, state BJP president Kummanam Rajasekharan said media reports in this regard were "exaggerated and based on rumours."
Stating that the BJP was committed to eradicating corruption, he said immediate steps had been taken when the allegations had cropped up.
"Further steps in this matter will be discussed in the appropriate party forum," he added.
The party would take stern action against any leader if they were found to have any connection with corruption, Rajasekharan said.
BJP state General Secretary M T Ramesh, whose name also figured in the media reports, dismissed allegations against him as "baseless".
"I have no role in it," he told reporters in Kochi, asserting that his innocence would be proved.
He said no one had offered money for MCI recognition to any private medical college management.
Ramesh also said he had never met owners of the medical college.
He, however, admitted that some persons from a medical college in Palakkad district had met him around one-and-a-half months ago asking whether he could help in getting approval.
Ramesh said he had told them it was not a matter which he would be able to deal with.
Ramesh also maintained that he had not seen the probe report.
The purported report, allegedly submitted to the BJP state president last month, had stated that the allegations were 'serious' especially at a time when Prime Minister Narendra Modi was taking a strong position against corruption.
It had also stated that a New Delhi-based person, against whom also charges regarding the Varkala medical college matter have been made, had misused a photo with the prime minister to cheat persons by showing he had influence at the Centre.
Leader of the Opposition in the assembly Ramesh Chennithala said reports had come out stating that bribe had been paid to BJP leaders for getting MCI sanction to the medical college and also for additional seats.
"What has come out is a widespread corruption involving state BJP leaders under the cover of BJP-led NDA government at the Centre," he alleged.
Hitting hard at state BJP leaders, CPI-M veteran V S Achutanandan said the anti-graft image of the saffron party leaders had "burst like bubble" due to corruption charges.
Only a comprehensive CBI probe monitored by court would expose the truth in this regard, he said.
Talking to reporters in Kottayam, Left Democratic Front (LDF) Convenor Vaikom Viswam demanded an investigation into the bribe allegations against the BJP leaders.
Read also: Kerala BJP leader allegedly bribed Rs 5.60 cr for grant of MCI approval