Politics has heated up once again in Rajasthan over a case being pursued by the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) regarding the alleged irregularities in recruitment of teachers in the Jai Narayan Vyas University in Jodhpur, after the Supreme Court released the university’s former Vice-Chancellor B.S. Rajpurohit on bail on Monday.
The ACB had last week arrested six persons, including former Congress MLA Jugal Kabra who was earlier a Syndicate member in JNV University, in connection with the case involving appointment of teachers during the previous Congress regime in 2012 allegedly in violation of the University Grants Commission’s norms.
Even as the ACB has maintained that it acted as per the legal opinion of the State’s Additional Advocate General, the Opposition Congress has termed the arrests “politically motivated” — having been made under Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje’s pressure — and accused the ruling BJP of indulging in the “politics of vendetta”.
While the bail granted to Prof. Rajpurohit within three days of his arrest was perceived in the political circles here as a setback to Ms. Raje, Pradesh Congress Committee president Sachin Pilot has called for Jodhpur bandh on January 24 in protest against “arbitrary arrests” of the former Vice-Chancellor, former MLA and others in the matter.
The Congress protest will coincide with Ms. Raje’s scheduled visit to Jodhpur on January 24. The Rajpurohit community also took to roads on Monday in support of the former Vice-Chancellor by organising a silent march. The protesters submitted a memorandum to the District Collector demanding Prof. Rajpurohit’s immediate release.
In a related development, the Supreme Court on Tuesday granted liberty to five accused persons, including Mr. Kabra, to approach the trial court for seeking bail and directed that the bail applications be decided as expeditiously as possible, preferably on the same day. All the accused were allowed to be impleaded as parties in the case filed by the State government.
The State government had moved a special leave petition in the Supreme Court challenging the Rajasthan High Court’s judgment of May last year, by which it had quashed the FIRs registered by ACB in the case. After asking the ACB to complete investigation and submit charge-sheet in the court in a week’s time, the apex court has listed the SLP for final hearing on February 1.
The FIRs had named about 30 accused in the matter, including deans, heads of departments, Syndicate members as well as some selected candidates.
The ACB, which had earlier indicated that it may arrest some more persons in the coming days while citing “incriminating evidence”, is not likely to make any fresh arrest after the Supreme Court’s directions of Monday and Tuesday.