The Supreme Court has transferred investigations of Vyapam scam probe to the CBI after Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan had asked the Central Bureau of Investigation to take charge, saying that he was bowing to the “wishes of the people.”
The Apex Court also issued notices to Madhya Pradesh Governor, Centre & state govt.
However, when it comes to investigating allegations against powerful persons, the CBI’s record is a mixed one. Here is a look at the status of ten prominent cases which the agency handled.
1) 2G spectrum case – After the Central Vigilance Commission directed the CBI to investigate the case, the agency filed an FIR in October 2009. However, it has been facing flak from the court for tardy investigation and delay in questioning key witnesses. More than half a decade later, the accused have still not been brought to book.
2) Coal allocation case – In March 2012, a CAG report brought to light windfall gains to coal block allottees on account of an allegedly flawed allocation process. Two months later, the CBI began its investigation into the matter. However, the probe has been marred by allegations of lack of independence. In scathing remarks that continue to haunt the agency, the Supreme Court had referred to it as a “caged parrot” after CBI director Ranjit Sinha admitted that the investigation report was shared with the then law minister Ashwini Kumar.
3) Adarsh society – The 31-storey structure in South Mumbai became the subject of controversy in October 2010, when Maharashtra CM Ashok Chavan’s relatives were found to have been allotted flats in the society. Two months later, the CBI filed an FIR in the case. It has chargesheeted a total of 48 persons, including senior politicians, bureaucrats and defence officials. In March 2012, it arrested senior bureaucrats only after facing severe criticism from the High Court. Recently, the CBI filed a petition seeking to drop Ashok Chavan’s name from the chargesheet, which was dismissed by the court. In March 2012, it had even arrested one of its own lawyers, accusing him of taking a bribe to dilute charges against one of the key accused. However, the charges were quashed by the High Court.
4) Illegal mining – The CBI registered the case in December 2009, but did not arrest the main accused, former Karnataka minister G. Janardan Reddy, till September 2011. When it did make the arrest, it seized 30 kg of gold and more than Rs 1.5 crore in cash from his house. In May 2013, it chargesheeted Janardan Reddy and his brother-in-law B.V. Srinivasa Reddy. They are now facing trial in the case.
5) Sohrabuddin Shaikh encounter – The Supreme Court assigned the case to the CBI in January 2010, observing that the Gujarat police had failed to carry out an impartial investigation. Amit Shah, the present BJP chief, was one of the accused in the case. However, in December last year, a special court discharged him citing lack of sufficient evidence.
6) Aarushi Talwar murder case – The CBI faced strong criticism for its handling of the case ever since it took over investigations from the Delhi police. While it initially named the Talwar’s domestic help Hemraj as a suspect in the case, it later alleged that her father Rajesh was the main suspect. The agency, however, filed a closure report in court, stating that they did not have enough evidence against him. The court, however, ordered proceedings against Rajesh Talwar and his wife Nupur, after which they were convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment.
7) Satyam scandal – The Satyam scandal was a significant case of a high-profile conviction by the CBI. The case was registered in 2009, after Satyam founder Ramalinga Raju admitted that he had manipulated the company’s accounts, leading to a fraud of more than Rs. 7000 crore. However, due to the CBI’s delay in filing a chargesheet in the case, the Supreme Court granted bail to Raju in November 2011. Earlier this year, a special court found Raju and nine others guilty, and sentenced Raju to seven years imprisonment and a fine of Rs 5.5 crore.
8) Om Prakash Chautala case – In 2008, former Haryana chief minister Om Prakash Chautala was charged in a case in a teachers’ recruitment scam, in which he was alleged to facilitated the illegal selection of more than 3000 junior basic trained primary school teachers in 1999-2000. The scandal had come to light after one of the eventual convicts filed a petition alleging that he faced pressure from Chautala to replace the lists with fake ones. In January 2013, he was convicted and sentenced to ten years’ rigorous imprisonment.
9) Abdul Karim Telgi – The fake stamp paper scandal came to light in the year 2000 when the Bangalore police arrested two persons, who later led the cops to Telgi. The CBI later took over the case and unearthed a scam of huge proportions, after which several cases were registered against Telgi in various parts of the country. A narco test conducted on Telgi suggested the involvement of NCP chief Sharad Pawar and former Public Works minister Chhagan Bhujbal. In 2006, Telgi was convicted by a special court and sentenced to imprisonment for 30 years.
10) Fodder scam – The fodder scam unfolded in Bihar over the course of several years and was taken over by the CBI in 1996 subsequent to an order of the Patna High Court. Former Bihar chief minister Laloo Prasad Yadav was chargesheeted in 2000. Thirteen years later, he was finally convicted in the case.
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