Chhattisgarh minister faces flak over Maoist links

Raipur, March 3 (IANS) A senior minister in Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-ruled Chhattisgarh came under sharp criticism Wednesday after the opposition Congress alleged that the minister had links with a person held for being involved in Maoist activities.

State Congress working president Satyanarayan Sharma and former minister Bhupesh Baghel held a press meet here and distributed copies of Agriculture Minister Chandrasekhar Sahu’s book to newsmen to substantiate their charges that the minister has been in close ranks with Prafulla Jha, a scribe held in January 2008 on charges of smuggling arms to Maoists.

Congress leaders said the book written in Hindi and titled ‘Famine free Chhattisgarh: Reality and Prospects’ was first printed in 2001 had an article contributed by Prafulla Jha but the same article was in the name of the minister when the book was re-printed in 2008.

The Congress leaders demanded that the BJP should sack the minister and order a probe into the matter.

Meanwhile, the former MP Sahu who made it to the Raman Singh cabinet in December 2008 dismissed opposition charges saying it ‘totally lacked substance’. He, however, admitted ‘there were some printing errors in the book’.

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