New Delhi: Nine CBI courts hearing Vyapam cases have been closed by the Madhya Pradesh High Court at the request of the agency, which wanted the cases to be shifted to its other special courts for a tighter scrutiny of trials.
The HC had set up 22 special courts for hearing Vyapam scam-related cases. It had closed four of them earlier.
Of the remaining 18, nine were in Bhopal, Gwalior, Jabalpur and Indore. The districts of Rewa, Damoh, Sagar, Balaghat, Morena, Chattarpur, Guna, Bhind and Khandwa had one court each.
The courts in these nine districts will now be closed at the request of the CBI. Their 38 cases will be brought to the special Vyapam courts in Bhopal, Gwalior, Jabalpur and Indore, CBI sources said.
They said the agency had made the request in this regard to the Madhya Pradesh HC which allowed the plea through an order on September 11.
The sources said the special CBI courts in Bhopal, Gwalior, Jabalpur and Indore have necessary infrastructure and human resource that can monitor the ongoing trials.
The Vyapam court in Bhopal has three special judges and one special magistrate, Gwalior has two special judges and one special magistrate, while one special judge each is there in Indore and Jabalpur.
"It will not impact the ongoing trials. These nine courts were hearing 38 of the total 154 cases in which most of the witnesses do not belong to those districts. Hence, there will be no impact of moving these cases to the special courts in Bhopal, Jabalpur, Indore and Gwalior," said an official.
He said these cities have full-fledged legal teams and officials like special prosecutors, pairavi officers among others can ensure better monitoring of the cases.
"Voluminous records will be presented during the trial of the cases. The very nature of the cases require examination and cross-examination by cyber crime and legal experts which will be easy in cities where the CBI has its own infrastructure," he said.
CBI sources said the special Vyapam courts were notified by the high court keeping in view that the state police will be probing the matter.
This was done before the CBI took over the investigation in the cases on the orders of the Supreme Court on July 24, 2015.
The scam is related to manipulation in the selection process for government colleges and jobs conducted by the Madhya Pradesh professional examination board or Madhya Pradesh Vyavsayik Pariksha Mandal (Vyapam). It involved the impersonation of candidates, rampant copying, blank answer sheets and fake marks.
The CBI has registered 154 regular cases in connection with the scam, and one regarding the death of a person allegedly linked to it, agency sources said.
It has filed final reports in 90 cases -- 84 charge sheets and six closure reports -- while the probe is underway in the remaining 64 and final reports will be filed in the coming months, they said.
Besides the 84 charge sheets, 14 cases were taken by the agency directly for trial as the charge sheets were submitted by the local police.
In two cases, conviction has been pronounced by the special Vyapam court.
"As on August 31, 2017, over 10,818 people were examined by the agency which includes 5,603 witnesses and 5,215 accused. 348 people have been charge sheeted so far," said the official.