Currently, a three-member special investigation team (SIT), appointed in 2013 and headed by Justice Chandresh Bhushan, is investigating the scam, which has not only engulfed Chouhan government, but also queered the pitch for Modi government at the centre, which was already under attack for links of its various ministers with tainted former IPL commissioner Lalit Modi.
MP Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan talking to media in Bhopal on Monday.
Even as Madhya Pradesh chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan on Tuesday gave in to the demand to hand over probe into the Vyapam exam scam to the CBI, the opposition refused to relent, saying only a Supreme Court-monitored probe will unearth the truth behind the multi-layered Munnabhai-style exam scam. Chouhan’s announcement coincided with the Supreme Court agreeing to hear petitions in this regard on Thursday.Currently, a three-member special investigation team (SIT), appointed in 2013 and headed by Justice Chandresh Bhushan, is investigating the scam, which has not only engulfed Chouhan government, but also queered the pitch for Modi government at the centre, which was already under attack for links of its various ministers with tainted former IPL commissioner Lalit Modi.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>With 41 mysterious deaths and 1,800 arrests related to the irregularities in the Vyasvasayik Pareeksha Mandal (VYAPAM) or professional examination board (PEB), the case is turning into a macabre crime-thriller. At least five persons associated with Vyapam, including a TV reporter, have died under mysterious circumstances in the last one week. Nearly 200 suspects have filed petitions requesting protection as they fear for their life. Bigwigs whose names have been dragged so far into the spotlight include the Governor, the Chief Minister, a national spokesperson of the ruling BJP, and two senior RSS leaders.Incidentally, majority of deaths have been reported from the Chambal region and most of deceased were in the age group of 25-30. They were either students, who had fraudulently secured admission to medical colleges after paying hefty sums to touts of the PEB’s managers, or those who had secured jobs from the manipulation of recruitment tests. Among the high-profile deaths include that of Shailesh Yadav, son of Madhya Pradesh Governor Ram Naresh Yadav. The Governor was also named as an accused in a recruitment rigging matter in February this year but the High Court gave him relief a month later, saying he enjoys Constitutional immunity as long as he is in office.Both the Congress and the Left parties said Chouhan, a third-time CM, has enacted another farce by saying he will write to the High Court for a CBI probe. They said as per rules, instead he should be writing to the Union Home Minister for straightaway instituting the probe. They reiterated demand for a Supreme Court-monitored CBI probe and reiterated that Chouhan must resign to ensure an independent probe into his role in the scam.”Chouhan has led from the front in first, effecting Vyapam scam; second, perpetrating it for four years even after it was uncovered in 2009 and third, he personally misled and stone-walled the investigations,” senior Congress leader Jyotiraditya Scindia said, pointing out that the CM himself was the minister in-charge of medical education from 2008 to 2012. He told a news conference here how the CM had even hoodwinked the High Court through the farce mechanism of a pliant Special Task Force (STF) to catch only small fish and not the bigwigs, despite the fact that the scam involved many from ruling BJP, senior officials and businessmen.”Mysterious murders to shield financial beneficiaries and disrupt the investigations from reaching the kingpin of the scam are refusing to let up to an extent that a union cabinet minister (Uma Bharti) who is a former chief minister of Madhya Pradesh is publicly saying she was scared of threat to her life and that of her supporters and even Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley finds weight in an independent inquiry,” Scindia said.Chouhan’s announcement of a CBI probe surprised many as Home Minister Rajnath Singh had on Monday said the state government cannot order a CBI probe. The CM said, “I thought about the matter the whole night… The questions which have been raised need answers. It has become necessary now that CBI investigates the case.”The Vyapam scam surfaced in July 2013 when eight impersonators were arrested as they attempted to take a pre-medical test as proxies for registered candidates in Indore. These arrests were made possible by a tip-off from whistleblower Anand Rai. During the interrogations of the arrested individuals, the name of Dr Jagdish Sagar as the supposed kingpin of the racket surfaced.
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