By L.S. Herdenia
BHOPAL: Mystery shrouds the reasons behind frequent changes in the Special Investigation Team (SIT), constituted by the Madhya Pradesh Government to probe, what has come to be know as the ‘Honey trap case’. Within less than a week, the government has changed the head of the team twice, besides overhauling it. Initially, IGP Rajendra Kumar was appointed the head of the SIT. Within 24 hours, he was replaced by Sanjvee Shami, also of the IG rank. Six days later, he, too, was shunted out and Rajendra Kumar, an ADGP, took his place.
Chief Minister Kamal Nath is learnt to have pulled up the police brass for handing over the case to an SIT. “Was some kind of terrorist activity involved? Where was the need to constitute an SIT,” he is supposed to have asked the state police chief.
Reports in a section of media suggest that some ministers have also reacted to the frequent changes. Home minister Bala Bachchan, however, said that the chief of the SIT was changed “to cover all parameters related to the probe.”
“The new SIT chief (Rajendra Kumar) is a DG-level officer. His appointment has been made to cover all parameters of the probe. He is a much senior officer. He is from the 1985 batch of the IPS while the earlier chief (Sanjeev Shami) was from the 1993 batch,” he said. ADGP (Cyber crime) Milind Kaneskar and SSP Indore Ruchi Vardhan Mishra will take the probe forward, the minister said.
However, transport minister Govind Singh Rajput had a different take on the issue. “Some video clips found their way to social media during investigation. This shouldn’t have happened,” he said. The home minister denied that the state government was working under political or any other kind of pressure. “There is no confrontation (between top police officers) over the investigations. Whoever is found guilty will be punished. No one will be spared,” the minister said, adding that the government will make public the names of the officers and the politicians found involved in the case. “We assure a fair and unbiased investigation into the matter,” Bachchan said.
Asked about the changes in SIT, Union minister Thawar Chand Gehlot said in Ujjain that “It (the case) has been doing the rounds for some time now and some results should come to the fore. If the state government considers it a serious case, it should think about a high-level investigation into the matter,” he said. The BJP has been demanding a CBI probe into the case.
Indore SSP Ruchivardhan Mishra, who is deeply involved in the probe from day one, has been part of the all the three SITs constituted so far. Before the SIT was formed, within a period of 24 hours, three different officials were assigned probe into the matter. Three days after the busting of the scam, Ajit Singh, the then in-charge of the Palasia police station of Indore, where the case was registered, was removed. The official reason was carelessness in the probe of an old drugs case. SI Bar Singh Khandla was appointed investigating officer for a brief period until he was replaced by inspector Shashikant Chourasia. A day later, the SIT was formed.
While, the controversy about ‘honey trap’ has made many officers and leaders uncomfortable, a highly derogatory comment by the leader of opposition in the Vidhan Sabha, Gopal Bhargava, has provoked all-round condemnation. Bhargava has the reputation of putting his foot into his mouth. Once when he was an ordinary MLA, a Congress woman legislator attacked him. He hit back with a highly objectionable remark. The Congress woman legislator, about whom he had made the remark, hurled a chappal at him in the House.
In the latest case, after the BJP candidate from Jhabua Lok Sabha constituency filed his nomination for the upcoming bye-elections, Bhargava said that the Congress candidate was an agent of Pakistan. He said while the BJP candidate represents India, the Congress nominee represents Pakistan.
Bhargava’s remark caused a furore in the state. The Congress has filed a complaint with the Election Commission and demanded penal action against Bhargava. An FIR has been registered against Bhargava. (IPA Service)