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Corruption hits transport ministry in Rajasthan

Tuesday - February 18, 2020 7:59 pm , Category : INDIA
Jaipur, Feb 18 (IANS) The Rajasthan government is facing tough times with corruption cases tumbling out from different ministries one after the other.
After facing much flak post the death of over 100 children in Kota's JK Lon Hospital after which the health ministry was found misusing National Health Mission funds, another ministry has come under Anti Corruption Bureau's radar with eight transport department officials arrested on Sunday on charges of running a racket with agents and a cash amount of Rs 1.5 crore, property documents and lists of illegal transactions were seized from their residences.
Meanwhile, state transport minister Pratap Singh Khachariyawas on Tuesday came out strongly in his defence claiming that he need not give any clarification to anyone in the matter.
"I need to bring the fact out that ACB comes under our government and not vice-versa that is government doesn't come under ACB. In fact, ACB sleuths never take any step on its own without CM's or minister's direction," said Khachariyawas.
Speaking on his meeting with Gehlot, he said, "I need not give any clarification to any one as we have been meeting CM and Deputy CM on different issues."
Soon after Khachariyawas' statement, Gehlot told media, "We have been repeatedly asking the administration to stay sensitive, transparent and accountable. However, it can't be done by me saying the same repeatedly. For this, our Cabinet colleagues, all MLAs and the bureaucracy need to come together and take a pledge that the people who have made us sit on higher positions here should be listened to on priority. The government feels that there should be a sense of sensitivity, transparency and accountability in administration."
Officials meanwhile confirmed that 22 phones were being tapped since last four months after which 18 teams were formed to arrest the accused which included eight transport officials and seven brokers.
Congress workers told IANS that Khachariyawas once was in the good books of Deputy Chief Minister Sachin Pilot's camp but was being quietly observed by Gehlot's camp for his alleged corrupt deals. Gehlot has also called for the files for scrutiny fearing which Khachariyawas joined Gehlot's camp a few months back.
However, till then, it was already late and his files had revealed all hidden secret deeds being made by his ministry.
As ACB comes under the state home ministry, eyebrows are being raised on whether this is another masterstroke of Gehlot who has been known for his political acumen which has silenced his rivals, said a senior Congress leader on condition of anonymity.
Meanwhile, the opposition has started demanding resignation of Khachariyawas.
Former health minister Kalicharan Saraf demanded resignation of the minister. He said, "If there is some morality in the chief minister, he should immediately remove Khachariyawas from the ministry. He should demand resignation from him immediately," said Saraf adding that there is massive corruption in the department from top to bottom and hence Khachariyawas should resign to clean up the system.
What is embarrassing for the ruling party is that the ACB team under the state government is raiding one of the state ministries whose officials were collecting monthly recoveries illegally via brokers from vehicle owners to ply their vehicles on roads, said another Congress worker.

--IANS arc/kr