In the medical college bribery case in which a few BJP leaders in Kerala are allegedly involved, the state Vigilance and Anti-Corruption bureau has recorded the statement of R Shaji, chairman of SR Educational and Charitable Trust who has now said that the money he paid was not a bribe.
He had earlier complained that he had paid Rs 5.60 crore to RS Vinod, the former BJP convenor of cooperation cell, to get Medical Council of India (MCI) sanction for his medical college.
In his statement to Vigilance, he reportedly said that he did transfer the money to Satish Nair, a Delhi-based middleman, through and later told media that he had given the money as a consultancy charge and not as a bribe.
Earlier, Shaji had denied giving money to Satish.
He also said that It was Satish who contacted him offering help.
Shaji also added that he contacted Vinod not as a BJP leader but as a local contact to Satish Nair.
Shaji told Vigilance team that this is in no way linked to BJP leaders, and that he has not mentioned BJP state general secretary MT Rameshâ€™s name when the BJPâ€™s internal committee enquired about this.
He agreed that he handed over money to Satish through Vinod and when Satish failed to meet his promises, he did ask for the money back but Satish did not return it.
The whole issue came to light when a report filed by a two-member internal committee headed by KP Sreesan and AK Nazeer, submitted to the state leadership of BJP, was leaked out.
Following the leak, the BJP terminated the party membership of RS Vinod.
After the report was leaked, the name of BJP state general secretary MT Ramesh also started doing the rounds.
His name found its way into the report after the committee questioned Shaji about how he handed over such a large sum of money to Vinod.
In his reply, Shaji had said he was convinced after he was told that Satish Nair had been instrumental in getting recognition for several other medical colleges.
Shaji was told that even MT Ramesh had helped one Dr Nasar to get MCI sanction for a medical college in Palakkad.
However, Shaji denies it now.