Madhya Pradesh goes for its Assembly polls on November 28 for a total of 231 seats and fresh corruption charges against MP Congress leader and former Union Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia by former Ranji Player Sanjay Sharma came as a big blow to the party that is confident to get back to power in the midst of strong anti-incumbency sentiments against BJP’s 15 years of rule in the state. Sharma, who was also the former Vice-President of Madhya Pradesh Cricket Association (MPCA), held a press conference in Mumbai on November 26 and accused Scindia and other office bearers of MPCA of deceiving and criminally breaching the trust of BCCI and a few farmers for personal wrongful gain at the cost of Cricket in the state of Madhya Pradesh.
Headquartered in Indore, MPCA is the BCCI affiliated and funded governing body of cricket team and activities in the State whose present Chairman is Jyotiraditya Scindia and the President is former BCCI secretary Sanjay Jagdale.
In the period of 2010-2011, the MPCA under the chairmanship of Scindia has made a proposal for building a Cricket Stadium in Gwalior and secured the approval of BCCI for construction and funding for development, including from the purchase of land in Gwalior, establishing all facilities, amenities, and rest of entire expenditure.
According to Sharma, Scindia with the help of his ‘special consultant’ Retd IAS Prashant Mehta and a few other assistors from MPCA proceeded to purchase land admeasuring 64 Bigha (25.633 Acre) in Gwalior and identified block of land at Gram-Shankarpur where the actual prevailing price for purchase of land is Rs 20 lakh per Acre (2.5 Bigha). Additionally, Sharma arraigned the MPCA Chairman for conspiring an illegal strategy in the deal to usurp a large chunk of money from BCCI i.e. purchasing the land from the farmers through an intermediary. What this means in detail is taking the right to sell the land by way of Power of Attorney (POA) from the farmers by paying them the prevailing price of land and thereafter, the POA holder will sell the land to MPCA at a higher price. “Since by all these, the registry cost will display the higher price, on the basis of that, Scindia will score himself money from BCCI, said Sharma.
In an exclusive conversation with AV, Sanjay Sharma expressed, “In February, I had gone to meet Jyotiraditya Scindia and I registered my complaint at Gwalior Collector, Gwalior Registrar Office, and the BCCI Board after 2-3 months and asked for help but no one cooperated with me. I have filed a case in the Madhya Pradesh court on November 13. I had also informed the MPCA about this scam but no one responded as they are also hand in gloves with Scindia.”
He further elaborated that the MPCA authorised its member Dilip Chudgar to purchase land as the next part of the conspiracy. Chudgar bought land from the same locality with two different rates — firstly, registry executed directly from the farmers was at Rs 20 lakh per Acre and secondly, registry executed through Power of Attorney holder at Rs 1 crore per Acre. Demanding immediate actions against the offenders, he has held everyone involved liable for a criminal offence punishable under section 406, 409, 420, 467, 468, 471, and other sections of the IPC.
Calling the allegations against Scindia “politically motivated”, Congress spokesperson Atul Londhe said, “I think people are enough matured to understand that whatever charges or allegations are made just a day before the assembly polls are just for the sake of political gains by BJP. I don’t think it will divert the minds of the voters. This attempt is to divert the attention from the allegations that Congress made against the BJP Ministers and the BJP Government in Madhya Pradesh.”
After winning the Karnataka Assembly polls and increasing seat share in the Gujarat Assembly polls, Madhya Pradesh is considered crucial for Congress before the 2019 general elections. On the other hand, BJP has dominated the state’s polity over the past several years. The party had secured 45 per cent of all votes in the last MP elections in 2013 which is the highest in the state for nearly 30 years and 72 per cent of seats. While Scindia is not contesting the 2018 Assembly polls, in case the Congress wins the elections and chooses him as the Chief Minister, he would have to get himself elected to the state legislature within six months. Given the corruption charges targeting him, time will show how the MPCA Chairman plays with the allegations while keeping the pro-Congress voters’ sentiment safe in hand.
When AV tried to contact Jyotiraditya Scindia and Prashant Mehta, they remained unavailable for any comment on this story.