Bhopal: The sensational honey-trap scandal that almost got shelved due to a sluggish probe over the last few weeks has returned to fore after a purported video of former minister Laxmikant Sharma was leaked to the media in which he is seen interacting with one of the accused in the racket.
Sharma, is out on bail after spending several months behind bars for being named in the Vyapam scam, is seen in the video saying objectionable things about the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) and former chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan.
There is no clarity on when and where the video was shot, though many believe it could have been taken a little after December, 2015, when the former minister was released on bail. News18 does not vouch for the veracity of the video.
In the clip, the former minister is seen having a candid chat with Shweta Swapnil Jain, a prime accused in the honey trap scandal in which names of a number of bureaucrats and politicians have come up, and seems very upset with Chouhan.
Sharma is seen discussing the former CM’s relationship with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, even as he talks about an episode when pictures of Modi were used in an election campaign (could be the polls of 2013).
Regarding the Vyapam scam, the minister says he took all the blame on himself and ensured no one else was hassled. The scandal refers to irregularities in exams held by the Madhya Pradesh Professional Examination Board, also called Vyavasayik Pareeksha Mandal or Vyapam, for admission in professional courses and state services.
Stating that he was brought down in public life due to his loyalty to certain camps, Sharma says the party (BJP) is like a mother to him and he would never cheat with it. He, however, makes several objectionable comments against the RSS, considered the BJP’s parent organisation. No Congress or BJP leader has reacted on the latest controversy.
Besides Jain, four other women, including a college student, have been charged for their association with a gang involved in the honey-trap racket and kept in the Indore jail.
The scandal was exposed in September when Indore Municipal Corporation City Engineer Harbhajan Singh had approached the Indore police with a complaint that he was being blackmailed by some women who have his objectionable clips.
The racket was busted after two women, who reached Indore to extort money from Singh, were arrested, and it is claimed that senior politicians, top bureaucrats and government engineers were trapped and blackmailed by the women.
The matter was taken up by the Special Investigation Team (SIT) after it created ripples in the state’s administrative and political circles.