A video purportedly showing former BJP minister Laxmikant Sharma with an accused in Madhya Pradesh's honeytrap and blackmailing racket surfaced on Tuesday, triggering a war of words between the ruling Congress and the main opposition party.
As the video made its way on social media, the Congress government said no one involved in the scandal, which came to light two months, will be spared.
According to reports in local media, in the video Sharma is purportedly seen in the company of Shweta Swapnil Jain (48), one of the accused in the honeytrap scandal.
Sharma, who was a minister in the previous BJP government, was also linked in the Vyapam scam, which related to irregularities in exams conducted by the Madhya Pradesh Professional Examination Board.
Jain is currently lodged in the local jail under judicial custody along with five other accused in the case.
The video appears to have been recorded with a hidden camera, but it is not clear when and where it was shot.
Despite repeated attempts, Sharma could not be contacted for comment on the clip. The authenticity of the viral video could not be verified independently.
Asked about the leaked video, Home Minister Bala Bachchan, without naming Sharma, told reporters here on Tuesday that "Strict legal action would be taken against all those involved in the honeytrap case. No guilty will be allowed to escape the law.
Assuring an impartial inquiry into the scandal, he said, "If there was any ill-intention, then an FIR would not have been lodged in the case.
The Congress latched on the video to hit out at the BJP.
State Congress spokesperson Neelabh Shukla said, "This objectionable video has exposed the reality of the BJP, which talks about chal-charitra and chehra (behaviour, character and personality).
On the other hand, state BJP media in-charge Lokendra Parashar said, "Laxmikant Sharma is not a member of the BJP at the moment. In such a situation, we would not like to comment on the subject related to his personal life.
The honeytrap and blackmailing case, allegedly involving bureaucrats and politicians, came to light with the arrest of six members of a gang, including five women, from Bhopal and Indore on September 19.
The arrests were made on the basis of a complaint filed by an engineer of the Indore Municipal Corporation who claimed he was being blackmailed by some women over objectionable video clips.
The government has set up a Special Investigation Team (SIT) to probe the scandal.
(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)