Bhopal: Though the BJP and the RSS have stubbornly backed Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan in the Vyapam death cases, the questions refuse to go away. The BJP spokespersons and lawyers have to offer convincing answers to arrest the party’s shrinking credibility.
The state government has staved off questions over the enquiry through the Special Task Force of the discredited state police while the accused are dying in accidents or committing suicide. Even while the judge heading the Special Investigation Team constituted by the Madhya Pradesh High Court to monitor the STF conceded several unnatural deaths, Home Minister Babulal Gaur has suggested that all deaths were natural. He left a news channel show fuming on being questioned about this anomaly.
There are conflicting reports by jail and hospital authorities on the causes of Narendra Singh Tomar’s death. Tomar, allegedly member of the gang involved in helping students crack the Vyapam exams through fraudulent means, died in Indore on Sunday. While one report said he suffered abdominal pain, the other said he had chest pain. Tomar’s father now claims the STF got him eliminated.
What surprised even his admirers was Gaur’s casual remark in philosophical vein, “Maut to sabko aani hai koi jail mein marta hai koi rail mein”. Octogenarian Gaur had to make way for Chouhan over 10 years ago and often makes adverse references towards the administration. Surprisingly, no one wants to probe such large number of deaths. Gaur also dismissed the need for any inquiry into these.
In the many cases the pattern of deaths raises doubts. Of the 25 deaths, 10 were in accidents, four were recorded as suicides while 11 were said to be deaths due to diseases. Dr DK Sakalle, the dean of Jabalpur medical college, was scrutinising the students who were admitted to the state medical colleges through fraudulent means. Mystery about Sakalle’s death in a fire at home still remains unresolved. The death of Shailesh Yadav, son of state governor Ram NareshYadav, was said to be suicide. His brother had accused the police of harassing him.
The two-member bench of the Madhya Pradesh High Court which took up the matter of the unnatural deaths was apparently content to rap the investigating agency on the knuckles. As recently as on June 26 the bench took up the matter pertaining to unnatural death of “around 23 persons, who were named in one or the other crimes concerning VYAPAM Examination under investigation and monitoring.”
“Explanation is offered on the basis of the chart submitted by Shri Sahi inter alia that around 7 cases have been registered outside the State of Madhya Pradesh. Moreover, most of the deaths occurred before STF came on the scene,” says the court. The court has apparently been misled as the government records show that 14 of the 25 deaths occurred after the registration of the cases in 2013.
The court has summarily dismissed the Congress’ plea to examine the chief minister’s role in the case. It has also dismissed evidence produced by the Congress general secretary Digvijaya Singh about the possible involvement of the chief minister as forged. But why is Digvijaya Singh not being prosecuted for forging evidence?
“Initially, we thought that STF must take over the investigation of these offences also. However, it was pointed out that seven cases out of 23 have been registered outside the state of Madhya Pradesh. Further, whether the STF should take over investigation of these cases will be examined in detail and in consultation with SIT. Appropriate decision will be taken thereafter,” said the court.
The court also mildly pulled up the STF for allowing an accused Vipin Goel, who was ordered to taken into judicial custody, to mingle with family and friends. The state government is unabashed in its defence of the STF probe.
The STF, which once referred to the former RSS chief KS Sudershan and former chief minister Uma Bharti, had to beat a hasty retreat of being pulled up by then director general of police. This speaks volumes of STF’s “independence and transparency”. The state government argues that the CBI can’t hande the enquiry as some accused are based outside Madhya Pradesh. It has failed to explain how the state police can conduct investigations outside the state while the CBI can’t. The Congress has demanded that the court should intervene and hand the matter to the CBI.
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