Bhopal: The series of deaths of those associated with the Vyapam scam do not look “mysterious” but come forth as “abnormal”, the chief of Special Investigation Team (SIT) monitoring the probe into the case said on Tuesday.
Justice (retired) Chandresh Bhushan told TV news channels that he has asked the Special Task Force (STF) constituted to probe the admission and recruitment scam to “inquire” into these cases and tell the SIT how “these fellows have died”.
“I would not like to use that word (mysterious). I will say there are certain deaths and those deaths are not normal deaths… So, if they have any connection… I am only interested in knowing if there is any connection with Vyapam scam… I will call them abnormal deaths,” he said.
Bhushan said that till now the STF has not reported “any connection” of these deaths with the scam. The opposition parties have claimed that as many as 45 persons have died in connection with the scam while the official figure is over 25 since the investigation began into the case a few years ago.
“The STF is not probing these deaths and these deaths are being investigated by the local police concerned,” he said.
“I have asked the STF to enquire into these deaths,” Bhushan said, adding that “if any connection can be traced, then we will ask STF to further investigate.”
The SIT chief, a retired Judge of the High Court, said he would not like to make any specific comment on Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan’s latest announcement that the state government would request the MP High Court to order a CBI probe into the alleged scam.
“We are just monitoring the probe as per the orders of the High Court and if the High Court decides some other agency would do it, (then) there is no question of any feeling on my part. I am not disappointed by the CBI probe announcement,” he said when he was asked for his comments on the Chief Minister’s latest move.
The SIT chief said any police agency is “answerable” to some authority and hence, he would not agree with the version that the state police may not be able to probe the case freely and impartially.
Bhushan, when asked, said some officials of the STF had told him that they have received some “threats” related to their service career or otherwise.
“They (STF sleuths) have not communicated to me that they have received any telephone calls (of threats). They have only told me that they have received some information that they have some threats related to their career or otheriwse… I report these things to the court,” he said.
He, however, added he and his investigators have no pressure from any quarter.
“The STF has an absolutely free hand to investigate anything. There are no restrictions put on this team… There are no political pressures, absolutely not and there is no likelihood of it. We are not the persons who can be pressurised by any agency. Absolutely not,” he said.
The SIT chief added, barring some cases, there is no time limit or deadline to complete the probe.
“The STF will complete the probe subject to the resources (at its command). They will try to complete as many cases as as possible within the given time,” he said.
Appointed by and functioning under the MP High Court, The SIT was has investigators drawn from the state police.