The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
Email This Page
Tainted minister rides caste card

Jaipur, Jan. 25: Ram Singh Vishnoi, the former Rajasthan minister tainted by his son’s alleged drug trafficking, was today reinducted into the Ashok Gehlot ministry.

Many were taken by surprise as Ram Singh, then public health engineering minister, had resigned from the Cabinet last summer after customs and Central excise authorities raided the Jodhpur factory of his son Paras Ram. The factory was reportedly manufacturing narcotic drugs and marketing it in Mumbai and elsewhere.

The customs department had swung into action on a lead from Mumbai. According to the officials who raided the factory in the presence of Paras Ram, the lead was provided by a South Africa-bound consignment of mandrake tablets seized in Mumbai.

Paras Ram managed to leave the factory premises during the raid, saying he had to pick up his wife who was reportedly taking an examination. The entire set-up was allegedly part of an international racket that has been on for some time now.

For Ram Singh, last year was not the first time he had to resign from the Cabinet. In the mid-1980s, he was forced to quit after he allegedly brandished a gun at a woman journalist.

Political observers said Ram Singh’s reinduction is nothing but political expediency for both the Congress and Gehlot because of his clout in the Vishnoi community of Jodhpur region. The Vishnois are a dominant caste that plays a decisive electoral role in and around Jodhpur district, also home to chief minister Gehlot.

Email This Page