Bhopal: A day after the Supreme Court ordered the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to probe all cases related to the Vyapam scam and over 40 deaths linked to it, more details about the involvement of Madhya Pradesh High Court judges and top ranking government officials into another admission scam here have now come to the fore.
According to media reports, a list of top High Court judges with alleged links to the murkier Madhya Pradesh Professional Examination Board (MPPEB) recruitment scam, also called the Vyapam scam, has been handed over in a sealed envelope to the Chief Justice of India.
Whistleblowers have told the apex court that the 'kith and kin' of judges, IAS and IPS officers are among those who bought seats in private institutions, medical and dental colleges.
Whistleblower Anand Rai told a news channel that he and some others had submitted the names of judges linked to the admissions scam in private colleges to Chief Justice HL Duttu in a sealed envelope.
On the basis of these documents, the whistleblowers have reportedly contended before the apex court that since the "kith and kin" of judges are beneficiaries, the judiciary in Madhya Pradesh cannot be objective in the hearing of the admission scam
The whistleblowers also informed the Supreme court about the threats to their lives in their resolve to expose the 'big fish' in the Vyapam scam, including Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan.
Whistleblowers also alleged that the scam is not just confined to government institutions, paid seats were given out in private medical and dental colleges to relatives of ministers, judges and bureaucrats.
There have been over 40 deaths in the scandal, in which thousands of people are alleged to have paid bribes in return for government jobs or for college admissions.
The Supreme Court yesterday said that the CBI would investigate the scandal as well as the deaths linked to it.
Nearly 2,000 people have been arrested since the scandal erupted in 2012, including a former state minister, several top bureaucrats and hundreds of students.
The top court also yesterday issued notice to the MP Governor Ram Naresh Yadav while responding to a petition seeking his removal. He and his son were accused last year of accepting bribes in a First Information Report or FIR by the Special Task Force of the state police that is investigating the Vyapam scam.
The apex court's order transferring all Vyapam-related cases to the CBI came after the state government gave its consent to shifting investigation from the Special Investiation Team (SIT) and the Special Task Force (STF).
A bench headed by Chief Justice HL Dattu said all cases will stand transferred to the CBI from Monday and the agency will file its report before it on July 24.
Before handing over the probe to the CBI, the apex court took on record the submission of Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi, who on behalf of the MP government, said the state has no objection to transferring the investigation in Vyapam and deaths of people allegedly related to it for a free and fair probe.
"The Attorney General (AG) on instruction states that MP govt has no objection whatsoever for transferring the investigation of criminal cases relating to Vyapam scam to the CBI and the cases related to deaths of those allegedly connected with the scam for free and fair probe.”
"We appreciate the stand of the AG. In view of the above we transfer investigation of all criminal cases relating to Vyapam scam and death of people allegedly related to it, to CBI," the bench, also comprising Justices Arun Mishra and Amitava Roy, said.
The apex court was hearing a batch of petitions including one filed by senior Congress leader Digvijay Singh seeking CBI probe into all cases arising out of the Vyapam scam. As the Supreme Court ordered an inquiry by the central agency, reports came from Bhopal of a special court being informed about the death of yet another witness in the scam.
A beleagured Chouhan, whose credibility has been severely eroded following the scam, hailed the apex court's order, saying,"I welcome it wholeheartedly. There was a burden on my heart."
Speaking to journalists in Bhopal, Chouhan said he would request the CBI to begin investigation at the earliest "so the truth comes before the country, the people, and justice is done".
He rejected Congress' demand for his resignation. "They ask for it (his resignation) 5-6 times a day. To discredit Shivraj Chouhan, they have discredited the whole state. Probity in public life is my capital," he said.
Referring to the probe conducted by the STF and SIT so far, Chouhan said,"It was my test by fire. Had I not wanted, investigation would not have happened. I wanted to set the system right."
Not only Chouhan, political parties of all hues welcomed the decision.
Congress and AAP, while hailing the decision, also demanded that Chouhan step down to facilitate a fair probe.
Congress general secretary Digvijay Singh, one of the petitioners in the case, welcomed the apex court's order.
The BJP, however, patted Chouhan on the back for the apex court order.