MCI approval scam: BJP calls it cheating, Vigilance Probe begins
Thiruvananthapuram: The BJP in Kerala said the graft allegations against a party member over the issue of grant of MCI clearance to a private medical college was an offence committed by an individual and the party had nothing to do with it.
The party's core committee and state leaders' meeting that discussed the issue in detail concluded that it was a "clear case of cheating" done by an individual and the party would not protect the wrongdoer.
The party's hands are clean and it is ready to cooperate with the vigilance enquiry ordered by the state government, BJP national executive member P S Sreedharan Pillai and state general secretary K Surendran told reporters after the meeting.
"It is a cheating case committed by a party worker and the crime was done neither with the knowledge nor support of the party," the leaders said.
Putting up a brave face, Pillai said BJP took an "exemplary" decision to expel R S Vinod, convener of the cooperative cell, from the party immediately after the corruption allegation surfaced.
"It is true that he had indulged in a criminal offence.
It amounted to cheating which is a punishable offence under IPC. It was illegal and unethical," he said.
He said the BJP is a party that would not compromise on corruption.
The leader claimed that a propaganda has been unleashed against the party for a crime in which it had no role.
Pillai expressed dismay at the manner in which the media projected the issue as one of corruption connected with the party.
He said party state general secretary M T Ramesh, against whom also charges were levelled, had nothing to do with the matter.
"The party's unanimous stand is that Ramesh is a leader who has a clean public and political life," he said.
Replying to a question, Pillai, a former state president of the BJP, said the state leadership would submit a detailed report to the central leadership and it is for party president Amit Shah to take further steps on that.
In an embarrassment to the BJP, an internal party report had purportedly said Vinod took Rs 5.60 crore bribe to facilitate Medical Council of India's approval for the college at nearby Varkala.
Vinod was expelled from the party hours after the contents of the report submitted to the state party chief last month surfaced in the media.
Meanwhile, seizing on the matter, the Congress-led UDF has decided to stage demonstrations against the BJP across the state tomorrow over the issue.
UDF convener P P Thankachan said a high-level probe under the supervision of court should be conducted.
He also said serious allegations, including that of money laundering, have been leveled against BJP leaders.
State CPI-M secretary Kodiyeri Balakrishnan told reporters that a probe by a national agency is needed as not just Kerala BJP leaders but national leaders of the party are involved in the scam.
"This is a scam that has national relevance as it's not just in Kerala this has happened. A probe by the BJP won't suffice as 70 medical colleges across the country are involved, and the corruption has a national perspective as national leaders of the BJP have a role in this," said Balakrishnan.
BJP's national spokesperson G.V.L. Narashima Rao said there is no need for any further probe as what happened in Kerala is not corruption but unethical practise of a BJP worker and strong action has been taken against him.
Meanwhile, Kerala Police chief Loknath Behra told the media that "I gave the orders for a probe based on a complaint that I got. The probe begins today." Behra also heads the Vigilance Department.