Madhya Pradesh politics is not yet as crowded with criminals as Bihar and Uttar Pradesh, but the number of such elements is steadily on the rise. Three of the state ministers have criminal records. Call it ironical, but the current minister for jails, Arif Aqil was a prisoner in one of them a decade ago. Two decades back, accusatory fingers had been pointed towards him regarding the murder of a hockey coach. Aqil blames the charges against him on BJP (which was then in power) and its partisan politics, and the government has since withdrawn many of the cases.
Another minister, K.P. Singh, was the accused in a murder that took place in the Gwalior court premises, though he was later acquitted by the court. There are no criminal cases against him now, but the Supreme Court has raised objections against him in an illegal mining case in Shivpuri district. Another member of the Digvijay Singh cabinet, Aindal singh Kansana, had 16 criminal cases filed against him between 1980 and 1993. These include cases under article 394 (i.e being cause of death) and brawling. Before he became a minister, there was also a police report filed against him for firing at a person in a personal feud, though later the case was closed. Co-operative minister Dr. Govind Singh has no legal cases against him, but there have been charges of harboring dacoits and anti-social elements against him by the opposition. Congress MLA Vesta Singh has been accused of getting tribal homes burnt down -- several cases remain filed against him. Another Congress MLA Premchand Guddu has been tried for his mother’s murder in his childhood.
The state congress committee is also in bad shape. The party high command dissolved the state Congress committee after general secretary Inder Prajapat tried to shoot his colleague Manak Agrawal who survived despite being shot in the neck. Although, the next Congress committee was constituted with due care, Mushtaq Malik, with more than two dozen cases filed against him, was made the president of the national integration cell. He has been booked under NSA twice and an equal number of times been exiled from the district.
While Samajwadi Party MLA Rasal Singh does not have any criminal background, his son Shishupal is considered the uncrowned king of the criminal world. Recently, he was involved in an encounter with the police at Ron in Bhind District. BJP MLA Harinderjeet Singh Babbu also has several cases against him in the police records, though most of them are for scuffles with government employees and causing hindrance in their work. Babbu says these cases are the result of political 'activism'.
In 1980, action was taken against BJP MLA Ramesh Saxena under NSA. Apart from him, cases have been filed against BJP MLA Kailash Vijayvargiya, Anchal Sonkar, Hukumchand Yadav, Laxman Singh Gaud, central cabinet minister Uma Bharti’s brother, MLA Swami Prasad Lodhi (recently expelled from the BJP), Janta Party MLA Kankar Munjare and independent MLA Ashok Veer Vikram Singh.
Needless to say all of them claim the charges against them to be political vendetta.
Translated from Outlook Saptahik, dated February 17, 2003
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