Amid reports linking another death, this time in Sagar, to the Vyapam scam on Monday, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh, who was visiting Jhabua in Madhya Pradesh, said there would be no CBI probe into the alleged scandal unless ordered by the courts.
“An SIT probe is on. It is a High Court decision whether the CBI should probe. How can we influence the High Court and the Supreme Court?” he asked, adding that there was an attempt to make an issue “out of a non-issue.” “The Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister has said he wanted the issue probed independently and the probe is on.”
The Congress and other Opposition parties, however, demanded Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan’s resignation. The Congress said he was directly linked to the MP Professional Examination Board (Vyapam) scam, which it described as the “biggest and the most dangerous scam of independent India.”
The party demanded his resignation and sought a CBI probe. The Trinamool Congress said it would raise the issue of mysterious deaths in Parliament. Aam Aadmi Party leader Kumar Vishwas petitioned the Supreme Court in the matter.
Trainee sub-inspector Anamika Sikarwar, 25, recruited through Vyapam was found dead in a lake adjacent to the Police Training Academy at the Sagar district headquarters. She was selected as a sub-inspector in an exam conducted by Vyapam but local police said she was not a suspected beneficiary.
Mr. Chouhan was also quick to deny that Ms. Sikarwar’s death had anything to do with the scam. “It is a sad and unfortunate incident. But with all responsibility, I say that there is no connection of that unfortunate incident with Vyapam or its probe,” he said.
Congress accuses M.P. govt. of cover-up attempt
Even as the spate of deaths linked to the Vyapam case intensified demands for a CBI probe and resignation of Mr. Chouhan on Monday, Delhi Police Commissioner B.S. Bassi ruled out foul play in Jabalpur Medical College Dean Dr. Arun Sharma’s death but said the investigations would go on.
Congress leader and chief spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala said the scam affected approximately 77 lakh candidates over a period of nearly seven years between 2007 and 2013. “From December 2008 to March 2012, Shivraj Singh Chouhan was also the Medical Education Minister of Madhya Pradesh…he is directly responsible, this scale of a scam is not possible without his knowledge and complicity,” Mr. Surjewala said.
Mr. Surjewala said even though the scam was unearthed in 2009, the MP government led by Mr. Chouhan adopted a deliberate go-slow in the matter that smacked of a cover-up bid. The first inquiry committee was formed in December 2009 but only submitted a report 23 months later.
“That report has not been made public for reasons best known to the MP Chief Minister,” he said. Another committee formed on May 6, 2011 was supposed to have submitted its report in one month but only did so nearly 30 months later on December 3, 2013, the Congress alleged.
Uma expresses concern
Union Minister and former MP Chief Minister Uma Bharti – who was also named in the investigation – accused the Congress of politicising the issue, but said the scale of the scam and the reports of mysterious deaths is a cause for concern for everyone. “The Chief Minister should take note of the anxiety this is causing,” she said. “Congressmen are also involved, but they are politicising the issue by naming only their opponents.”
She said the issue had caused widespread anxiety in the State. “This is a serious matter connected with many young people. If they are innocent they would be going through the same mental harassment that I had gone through when I learnt that my name is also in the FIR…I am concerned,” the Union Water Resources Minister said.
The Congress said the scam had claimed 46 lives till Monday morning and affected lakhs. The government agency – formed for the purpose of conducting Engineering, Medical and Management entrance tests in 1982 but later expanded to recruitments in various services from police to state excise departments – conducted 167 examinations in the said period of seven years in which the scam unfolded.
- » The Vyapam scam in Madhya Pradesh dates back to 2007, with investigations in the case starting after some details came to light in 2013.
- » It has been alleged by the Congress as well as several social activists that the officials took money to compromise the examination and recruitment.
- » It is also known as the Madhya Pradesh Professional Examination Board (MPPEB) scam.
- »Editorial:>The Vyapam scam trail
- » Congress leaders openly accused MP CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan and his wife of being involved in the scam. Later, they submitted the "original evidence".
- » Earlier this year, Chief Minister Chouhan claimed in a >letter to Congress president Sonia Gandhi that the developments regarding the Vyapam scam provided proof of his honesty as he was the one who ordered a probe into it.
- »> Here are five things you need to know about Vyapam Scam.
College dean found dead
Dr. Arun Sharma, the dean of a Jabalpur-based medical college was found dead.
A journalist died soon after interviewing the parents of a girl who was accused in the scam and had died in suspicious circumstances.
The Madhya Pradesh govt. rejected a demand for CBI probe.
Another Vyapam scam accused dies in MP
Narendra Singh Tomar died under mysterious circumstances in an Indore jail.
FIR against M.P. Governor quashed
High Court held that he enjoyed immunity while in office.
Governor's son found dead
Shailesh Yadav, one of the accused in the scam, was found dead under mysterious circumstances.
Madhya Pradesh Governor Ram Naresh Yadav's involvement
The Special Task Force probed the alleged involvement of Governor Ram Naresh Yadav.