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Raman Singh backs minister under fire from Congress

Raipur, March 5 (IANS) Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Raman Singh Friday strongly rejected the charges levelled by the opposition Congress against a senior minister in his government for alleged links with a person held for smuggling arms to Maoists.

Singh rejected the Congress demand that he sack Agriculture Minister Chandrasekhar Sahu immediately and order a probe into the matter.

‘It is a purely political matter. The charges levelled by the Congress are politically motivated,’ he told reporters.

Sahu, a former Lok Sabha member, met Singh Wednesday, minutes after the Congress held a press meet to level charges against him for alleged Maoist links.

He also met Governor Shekhar Dutt Thursday and clarified about the charges. He has even sought appointments with a few organisational leaders of his party, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), to clarify about the allegations.

State Congress working president Satyanarayan Sharma and former minister Bhupesh Baghel distributed copies of Sahu’s book to reporters Wednesday to substantiate their charges that he had close links with Prafulla Jha, a Raipur-based scribe held in January 2008 on charges of smuggling arms to Maoists.

The Congress leaders said the book, written in Hindi and titled ‘Akaal avam Chhattisgarh: Yathaarth Aur Sambhavna’ (Famine free Chhattisgarh: Reality and Prospects) was first printed in 2001 and had an article contributed by Prafulla Jha. The same article was attributed to Sahu when the book was re-printed in 2008.

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