Madhya Pradesh to face Vyapam scam genie again
Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Kamal Nath has ordered a fresh probe into the 2013 Madhya Pradesh Professional Examination Board (MPPEB) or 'Vyapam' scam, a day after former chief minister Digvijaya Singh wrote to him asking him to bring to book the key conspirators in the scam.
But even as it ordered the probe, the Congress government announced that the anonymous letter that purportedly unearthed the infamous scam that involved the rigging of examinations and recruitment tests conducted by the state professional examination board, had gone missing.
Speaking in the Assembly on July 21, 2014, former chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan had taken credit for exposing the Vyapam scam by claiming that an anonymous letter had in June 2013 tipped off the Indore Crime Branch about the irregularities likely to take place in the pre-medical test (PMT) in Indore and he later ordered a probe into it.
However, state Home Minister Bala Bachchan, on Monday denied the existence of any such letter, landing the Opposition BJP in embarrassment.
Bachchan said a search was launched in the MP Police Department, Intelligence Department, Special Task Force (STF) constituted by the state government to probe the Vyapam scam, and other places to trace the purported anonymous letter but it could not be traced.
Replying to questions on the scam, Chouhan said the state government was free to do what it wanted.
However, Congress leader K.K. Mishra alleged that Chouhan and his people were behind the disappearance of the letter as well as other documents related to the scam.
According to Mishra, among the documents missing are records of the phone calls made from the Chief Minister's residence to state officials, including then Director General of Police (DGP).
Interestingly, Mishra was sentenced to two years in jail in a defamation case for alleging three years ago that Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan and his wife Sadhna Singh played a role in the illegal recruitment of constables in the state's Transport Department. He was later cleared by the Supreme Court.
The Vyapam scam came to light after the Indore Crime Branch on July 7, 2013 arrested 20 people who had come to impersonate candidates for PMT. The interrogation of these people led to the arrest of Jagdish Sagar, the leader of an organised racket involved in the scam. On August 26, 2013, the state government handed over the case to a Special Task Force (STF).
Taking cognisance of the case, the Supreme Court in April 2014 ordered the setting up of a Special Investigation Team under retired Justice Chandresh Bhushan. The STF was asked to work under the SIT. In July 2015, the Supreme Court transferred the case to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).
Cases were filed against at least 3,000 people, including 1,450 students and their family members, in the PMT scam. Some 2,000 people, including former state minister Laxmikant Sharma, his officer on special duty O.P.Shukla, BJP leader Sudhir Sharma, former governor's OSD Dhananjay Yadav, Vyapam controller Pankaj Trivedi and computer analyst Nitin Mohindra, have so far faced imprisonment in the case. IANS