Is BJP blind towards taint charges against its own ministers?
While the party has been demanding resignation of the Bihar Deputy CM, it seems to have lost sight of its own ministers in the Union and state governments, who are embroiled in criminal cases
The Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) has upped the ante against the 18- months-old grand alliance in Bihar—comprising Janata Dal (United), Congress and Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) and demanded resignation of Bihar Deputy CM Tejashwi Yadav over corruption allegations.
But at least 24 of the 78 Union ministers which constitute 31 per cent of the Narendra Modi cabinet, as per a report released by the Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) and National Election Watch (NEW) in July 2016, have criminal cases registered against them. The study shows that 14 of these ministers have declared serious criminal cases related to murder, attempt to murder, kidnapping and crimes against women against them in self-sworn affidavits.
The BJP has called upon Nitish Kumar to oust Tejashwi Yadav, oblivious of shady ministers filling its own ranks, following Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), Enforcement Directorate (ED), and Income Tax probes against RJD chief Lalu Prasad Yadav, his son Tejashwi Yadav and other family members.
On Sunday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi exhorted, “along with maintaining probity in public life, action against corrupt politicians is essential. All political parties should identify and isolate such politicians.” Ironically, BJP has an overwhelming number of lawmakers who face serious criminal charges besides many shady ministers in Central as well as states governments.
Minister of state for Micro Small and Medium Enterprises Giriraj Singh has been facing charges in two cases under IPC Section-171F (undue influence or personation at an election) and IPC Section-188 (disobedience to order duly promulgated by public servant). He also came under spotlight in 2014 when police recovered Rs 1.14 crore in cash, $600, gold and silver jewellery and six costly watches purportedly stolen from his flat. In his police statement, he claimed that the money belonged to his businessman cousin.
Minister of State (Independent Charge) Petroleum and Natural Gas Dharmendra Pradhan has been accused of punishment for wrongful restraint, obstructing public servant in discharge of public functions, obscene acts and songs, mischief causing damage to public property, unlawful assembly, danger or obstruction in public way, intentional insult with intent to provoke breach of peace, rioting and non-attendance in obedience to an order from public servant under under IPC sections 341, 186, 294 and 24 and PDPP Act Section 3 besides IPC sections 143, 283, 341, 504, 149, 147 and 174.
Minister for Women and child development Maneka Gandhi is accused under IPC sections 394, 506. She has been accused of voluntarily causing hurt in committing robbery and for criminal intimidation.
Minister of State Agriculture and food processing industries Sanjeev Kumar Balyan is accused under IPC sections 188, 353 and 341 and the Criminal Law Amendment Act section 7 for disobedience to order duly promulgated by public servant, assault or use of criminal force to deter a public servant from discharge of duty, punishment for wrongful restraint, and sexual harassment. He is one of the main accused in last year’s Muzaffarnagar riots in Uttar Pradesh.
Health and family welfare minister Dr Harsh Vardhan is facing two criminal cases and is accused of rioting, unlawful assembly, obstructing public servants, punishment for voluntarily causing hurt, voluntarily causing hurt to deter public servants from duty, punishment for wrongful restraint and mischief causing to damage public property under IPC sections 147, 149, 186, 323, 325, 332, 353, 427, Public Property Destruction Act. In the second case and IPC sections 147, 149, 341, 427.
The BJP government ruled out removing Union minister Nihalchand Meghwal, a Rajasthan BJP leader whose name figured in a rape case, in 2014. Curiously, PM Modi has time and again promised zero tolerance for crimes against women.
Minister of State Food Processing Industries Sadhavi Niranjan Jyoti MoS has been facing charges related to criminal intimidation (IPC Section-506), voluntarily causing hurt (IPC Section-323), intentional insult with intent to provoke breach of the peace (IPC Section-504) and charge related to Adultery (IPC Section-497).
Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation Minister Uma Bharti has has been facing serious charges under Arms Act sections 25 and 27 besides facing cases of rioting, attempt to murder, unlawful assembly, promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, criminal force to deter public servant, imputations; assertions prejudicial to national integration, and statements conducing public mischief. She has been facing these charges under IPC sections such as 145, 147, 148, 149, 153A, 153B, 505, 500, 506, 188, 171(H), 307, 341, 323, 294 and 427.
Minister of State for External Affairs General VK Singh is accused of obstructing public servants, assault on public servants, rioting with deadly weapons and unlawful assembly. In another case, he is accused of defamation and false charge of offence made with intent to injure. He is facing charges under IPC sections 185, 353, 147, 148, 149, 34 besides IPC sections 500 and 211.
Road transport, highways and shipping Minister, Nitin Gadkari is accused of unlawful assembly, punishment for wrongful restraint, obstructing public servant, house trespass, criminal intimidation and disobedience to order duly promulgated by a public servant under sections 134 and 135 of the Bombay Police Act and IPC sections 143, 341, 186, 448, 506 and 188.
Similarly, many BJP state governments have ministers who are facing charges. For example: Uttar Pradesh government has 20 tainted ministers with criminal cases against them, according to another report by Election Watch and ADR.
Another study by Gujarat Election Watch and ADR shows that at least 10 out of the 25 ministers in Gujarat government have criminal cases against them. Of them, five face serious criminal cases including murder, attempt to murder, robbery and dacoity.
Another report by ADR which was released in August 2016, as many as 113 (19%) ministers from state assemblies have been involved in serious criminal cases including cases related to murder, attempt to murder, kidnapping and crimes against women. “Out of the 78 ministers analysed from the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha, 14 (18%) have declared serious criminal cases against themselves,” the report says.
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