40-member CBI team begins probe in ‘Vyapam’ scam

RSTV Bureau
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Madhya Pradesh CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan has been facing criticism over the Vyapam scam. The opposition Congress party is also demanding his resignation. File Photo – PTI

Central Bureau of Investigation has officially taken over ‘Vyapam’ scam of Madhya Pradesh. The probe in massive admission and recruitment scam involving politicians from the ruling BJP in Madhya Pradesh, senior officials and businessmen was transferred to the CBI last week by the Supreme Court. The matter has assumed serious proportions after the spate of more than 40 deaths of those linked with the scam.

The CBI, which has constituted a special team of 40 officers, under a Joint Director level officer, will be meeting the officials of state police’s Special Task Force (STF) that was investigating the matter till the apex court stepped in.

“In compliance to the orders of the Honourable Supreme Court of India, CBI has constituted a team to take over the investigation of all Vyapam related cases. The CBI team will reach Bhopal on Monday and begin the process of taking over the investigation,” CBI Press Information Officer R K Gaur told the press on Sunday.

In the last two weeks alone, five people have been found dead at different places in Madhya Pradesh. The opposition Congress party has been claiming that all the deaths are connected with Vyapam.

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File Photo of MP Governor Ram Naresh Yadav. Yadav was issued notice by the top court last week. Photo – PTI

Last week, the Supreme Court had transferred investigations to the CBI after hearing the batch of Public Interest Litigations (PILs). The court had also issued notice to the MP government, MP Governor Ram Naresh Yadav and even the BJP-led NDA government at the Centre seeking their responses on the contentions made by the petitioners. The PILs were filed by a group of whistleblowers, lawyers and activists from Madhya Pradesh. Congress general secretary and former CM of Madhya Pradesh Digvijaya Singh too had filed a PIL in the same.

State Governor Ram Naresh Yadav was especially issued a notice on the petition seeking his removal for he too was named in the FIR in the past. The FIR was later quashed by the MP High Court. According to the allegations made by the whistleblowers in their petition, Governor Ram Naresh Yadav too has been complicit in the entire scam.

The Supreme Court, however, is yet to decide on who will monitor the probe. The CBI will also probe the link between the infamous ‘Vyapam’ scam and the number of mysterious deaths, allegedly connected with it.

Last Monday, a 25-year-old woman trainee sub-inspector, who incidentally got into the police force through an exam conducted by Vyapam, was found dead in the lake adjacent to the Police Training Academy (PTA) in Sagar district headquarters. And same day in the evening, a 40-year-old constable Ramakant Panda was found hanging from a ceiling fan at his residence in Orchha, near Jhansi. Local Congress leaders have claimed that the deceased constable had once been questioned by the STF probing Vyapam case.

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File Photo of Dr. Arun Sharma, Dean of Jabalpur medical college, who was found dead in Delhi last week. Photo – PTI

On Saturday last week, Akshay Singh, a journalist working with a leading news channel based in the national capital Delhi had died under mysterious circumstances in Jhabua town of Madhya Pradesh while working on the story of Vyapam scam. 38 year old Singh collapsed soon after interviewing the parents of one of the victims, who too was found dead after her name figured in the massive admission and recruitment scandal.

That was followed by the mystery death of the Dean of Jabalpur medical college, Dr. Arun Sharma, who was said to be probing fake examinees in the scam, was found dead in a Delhi hotel early on Sunday. Dr. Sharma had taken over as the Dean of college just one year ago after the mystery death of the then Dean DK Sakalle. Like Dr. Sharma, Mr. Sakalle, too was inquiring into admissions of candidates for whom proxies had allegedly appeared in the Pre-Medical Test (PMT). Sakalle was found burnt at his residence.

Previous week too, the two accused named in the scam, Narendra Singh Tomar and Dr. Rajendra Arya, had died in mysterious circumstances.

(With inputs from the PTI)