Madhya Pradesh Professional Examination Board (MPPEB): Vyapam
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06 Jul, 2015
More than 40 people associated with the Vyapam scam have died since 2013. Here is a TOI lowdown on the scam and related developments.
1. The Vyapam scam pertains to manipulation in the selection process for government jobs conducted by the MP Professional Examination Board.
It involves Madhya Pradesh Vyavsayik Pareeksha Mandal (Vyapam) which conducts tests for professional courses and recruitment to various posts.
Officials, businessmen and politicians are said to be involved in putting up proxy examinees on basis of which candidates were admitted and recruited.
2. Growing toll: One after the other, people variously linked with the Vyapam scam, are dying. The mystery deepens with every new death reported even as the probe agencies struggle to unravel it.
A cursory perusal shows that not only have candidates died but also dummy aspirants as also those probing the scam.
The MP government on June 25 admitted in the high court that 25 accused have died.
However, TOI's investigations put the death toll at 46.
3. The probe: Initially, the MP government had formed a special task force to probe the scam. However, The MP high court, rejecting Congress leader Digvijaya Singh's demand for a CBI probe, on November 5, 2014 formed a special investigating team (SIT) to investigate the scam.
On July 7, the Supreme Court agreed to hear petitions seeking a CBI probe into the Vyapam scam.
The SC hearing will take place on July 9.
4. Arrests: Over 2,000 people have been arrested in connection with the scam so far, including former education minister Laxmikant Sharma. The arrested people included over a hundred of politicians, several MPPEB officials, bureaucrats, middlemen, students and their parents.
5. Whistleblowers: The investigation in the scam commenced on July 7, 2013 on the basis of a report lodged on the information of an Indore-based civil rights activist, Dr Anand Rai. Forensic expert Prashant Pandey said he became a whistleblower in July last year, when he realised the special task force was relying on documents that seemed to have been tampered with. Gwalior-based social activist Ashish Chaturvedi claims to have disclosed the involvement of chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan's relatives and seven others in the scam. All whistleblowers claim that they fear for their lives.
6. Vyapam is an albatross for high-flying MP CM. The numerous deaths are a serious setback for MP CM Chouhan, and represent a rare vulnerability in the political armour of the earthy politician who has been on a winning spree since his installation as CM in 2005. The most famous allegation against Chouhan being the so-called dumper scam which allegedly involved his wife Sadhana Singh and her relatives.
7. MP chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan said that it was not fair to link all unnatural deaths in the state with the Vyapam scam.
The Times of India, Jul 08 2015
CBI received SOS on scam way back in 2013
Even as Madhya Pradesh chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan agreed to a CBI investigation into the Vyapam scam, top sources in the anticorruption agency claimed that complaints had been received -both anonymous and some named -in 2013 itself when the UPA regime was in power seeking a probe into the scandal. However, no action was taken as the agency can act in such matters only after the state or central government gives it the probe.
An officer said that some complaints, pertaining to some recruitments under Vyapam in MP, had been received from the state by the `complaints branch' of the investigative agency but the same were not allotted to any unit of the CBI in absence of any government notification or a court order. Now, when there is a possibility that the CBI may soon be approached by the MP government, officials say that it doesn't have the `manpower' and `resources' to probe a scandal so enormous, which has over 2,000 accused and a large number of FIRs.
A CBI official said, “In case the Vyapam investigation comes to the CBI, we will have to ask for additional teams of investigatorsofficers to probe the scandal, which is scattered in the entire state. Our hands are already tied with several multi-disciplinary probes like the Saradha chit fund scam, the NRHM scam, ba nking NPAs and others.There is already a massive shortage of officers in CBI.“
In Vyapam scam, which relates to manipulation in the selection process for government jobs conducted by the Madhya Pradesh Professional Examination Board (MPPEB), over 2,000 people have been arrested so far, while around 48 people have died mysteriously . A large number of state officials, businessmen and politicians are said to be involved in the scam. The arrested include over a hundred politicians, several MPPEB officials, bureaucrats, middlemen, students and their parents.
44 Mysterious deaths
‘MP police retarded investifation’
The Times of India, Jul 17
As CBI is gearing up for a mammoth task in Vyapam scam, with 185 cases of alleged irregularities and many death probes in its list, another challenge is on its way -`a possible botched up probe by MP police'.
A senior CBI officer, who didn't wish to be named, told TOI that initial assessment, after looking at the files and discussing the cases with senior MP policemen, it appears that there are quite a few `discrepancies' in how the cases have been handled there.
Though agency is yet to see all the files and finds it too early to conclude the `shortcomings' on part of MP police, the fact that cases are scattered among a centralized Special Task Force (STF) and several special investigation teams (SITs) in different districts, is something that is worrying agency officials.
CBI officers have interacted with several police officers of Madhya Pradesh in the last four days. It is yet to be handed over all the documents relat ed to the 185 cases pertaining to admissions and recruitments from different districts in the state.
“The STF registered 55 cases while rest of the cases are in different SITs formed in districts like Ujjain, Indore, Gwalior, Jhabua and others.STF was only monitoring these SITs which are headed by additional SPs or SPs. The files related to those cases which were not registered by STF in Bhopal, details of all the suspects, witnesses and arrested persons were maintained by different heads of police and there were many supervisors of probe,“ said an officer.
Source added that there are many suspects and witnesses, whose name had cropped up in several districts pertaining to various recruitments, but either they have not been examined at all or not pursued properly .
The CBI officer said, “In many instances, the local police in different areas didn't register the FIRs for a long time or many suicide probes have been inconclusive for a long period.“
CBI believes that since names of many local political personalities at district or regional level and other prominent persons had come up at different stages, the local police officers probably got influenced by their stature.Similarly , the cases called for naming hundreds of persons in the FIRs in many instances but the local SITs and STF named few of them and wrote `others'for the rest. CBI will have to write the names of all the accused persons whose names are known. However, the CBI has the advantage of having powers to question or probe anyone in the state.
The CBI is currently probing the 'Vyapam scam', a massive admission and recruitment racket which came to light a few years ago and rocked the state's politics.
The Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) has rapped the Madhya Pradesh government for “systematic subversion of rules” in appointment of director and controller of the scam-tainted Professional Examination Board (also known by its Hindi name,`Vyapam’). Government’s “shadowy” control led to erosion of the Board’s credibility, CAG said.
The CBI is currently probing the `Vyapam scam’, a massive admission and recruitment racket which came to light a few years ago and rocked the state’s politics. “The appointments of director and controller were made through systemic subversion of rules, resulting in undue favours to certain individual,” CAG’s report for 2016, tabled in the state Assembly today, said.
“Dr Yogesh Uprit and Dr Pankaj Trivedi (both accused in the scam, now removed from their posts) were appointed director and controller, respectively, on orders of the then minister (Laxmikant Sharma, also an accused) in contravention of rules,” CAG said.
Accountant General Sourabh K Mallick said that as per the report, the state government “ostensibly” distanced itself from Board, but still maintained “administrative control”. This “shadowy control” led to a situation where there was “severe erosion in credibility of examination conducted by the Board”, CAG report said.
The Board was set up in 1982 for entrance tests for medical, engineering, agriculture colleges, and polytechnics. Mallick, who handed over copies of the report to media, claimed that state government did not make available Vyapam’s records of 2015 and 2016 to the CAG, saying the Board was not a government body. The CAG also faulted the government for giving the Board the responsibility of recruitment for government jobs. “A primary function of the government to ensure free and fair recruitments to its own services…was jettisoned in favour of an institution (Vyapam), which was neither statutory, nor independent,” it said.