The Kerala unit of the Bharatiya Janata Party on Thursday expelled one of its leaders, RS Vinod, over bribery charges, The Indian Express reported. A party investigation had found that Vinod had taken Rs 5.6 crore from a private medical college in exchange for accreditation from the Medical Council of India. The Kerala BJP corporate cell convener has been removed from the party’s primary membership.

BJP President Kummanam Rajasekharan said the serious allegations against Vinod had damaged the party’s anti-corruption image, reported Mathrubhumi. “The gross indiscipline cannot be pardoned, and his action was anti-party,” Rajasekharan said, adding that the central leadership will look into the charges against Vinod.

An internal inquiry, conducted by BJP leaders KP Sreesan and AK Nazeer, had revealed that Vinod had taken a bribe from Bharat Dharma Jana Sena leader R Shaji to get an MCI approval for SR Medical College and Research Centre in Varkala, Thiruvananthapuram.

The matter came to light when some content of the report was leaked to the media. Party state General Secretary MT Ramesh was also accused of taking a bribe of Rs 5 crore in exchange for MCI approvals.

The Kerala vigilance director on Thursday ordered a investigation into the allegations against Vinod, Ramesh and others named in the report, according to PTI.

Political reactions

Leaders of the Communist Party of India(Marxist) on Thursday raised the matter in the Lok Sbabha. “We want the prime minister to walk the talk on the issue of political corruption, which he raised at the all-party meeting,” CPI(M)‘s MB Rajesh told NDTV. “This is not just about bribery in Kerala, but over 26 colleges have got recognition from MCI through various channels.”

Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee President MM Hassan alleged that the BJP had taken Rs 400 crore from 70 medical colleges across India.