New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Friday told CBI to inform it in three weeks about taking over of investigation of maximum number of cases out of 185 arising from Madhya Pradesh's Vyapam scam.
The apex court also asked the Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) that it should be in a position by next date of hearing on August 7 to fill necessary vacancies in the CBI as the agency has complained that shortage of man power was coming in the way of probe.
It sought the assistance of Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi on the issue of filling of vacancies in the CBI.
"You should be in a position to tell us we (CBI) have taken up the maximum cases," a bench comprising Chief Justice HL Dattu and Justices Arun Mishra and Amitava Roy said while making it clear to Solicitor General Ranjit Kumar that three weeks time would be sufficient for taking over the cases for investigations from Special Task Force (STF) and Special Investigation Team (SIT) of Madhya Pradesh.
The bench said CBI should be in a position to complete within six weeks the task of appointing lawyers to prosecute the cases in various special CBI courts in Madhya Pradesh.
It was in disagreement with the CBI that stress should be on setting up of more special courts, at least five in Bhopal.
The Solicitor General said that the Madhya Pradesh High Court has come out with a notification that CBI courts shall be located all over the state.
"We have so much of faith in you. You take up the cases. Whether it is in Bhopal, Jabalpur, Guna or any other place. You will have your own counsel for prosecution," the bench said.
At the outset, the Solicitor General said there are all together 185 cases and charge sheets have been filed in 78 of them and the priority of the CBI is to take over those cases in which the investigation was undergoing.
He said 55 cases are being examined by the STF/SIT and out of the remaining 130 cases, charge sheets have been filed in 49 and out of 81 which are under probe, 73 are related to cheating by candidates in examination which the CBI was preferring to take up at a later stage.
He said preliminary inquiry was being carried out in one death case and in another regular case has been registered.
At the end of the hearing, senior advocate Kapil Sibal,
appearing for Congress leader Digvijay Singh, who has sought CBI probe into the scam, said, "it is not the issue of man power but the question here is of power".
In the lighter moment, he was joined by another senior counsel Indira Jaising, who said, "the question is not of man power but of human resource management."
Another senior advocate and Congress leader Vivek Tanka, said, "deaths have stopped after you (Supreme Court) have taken up the issue of scam."
This prompted the bench to say, "we had said we would not like to hear about a single death after 37 which we had noted on July 9."
At this point, the Solicitor General said there have been 34 death which prompted the bench to say "then please don't let it be 35."
The Court had on July 24 asked the CBI to inform it about the specific time frame by which it will take over entire investigation into the Vyapam scam cases so that the issue of monitoring can be decided.
The apex court on July 9 had ordered transfer of probe into all Vyapam scam cases and the deaths allegedly linked to it to CBI and sought response from Madhya Pradesh Government on why an FIR should not be lodged against the Governor for his purported involvement in the scandal.
Issuing notices to the Centre, Madhya Pradesh Government and Governor Ram Naresh Yadav on the plea seeking his removal from gubernatorial post, the apex court transferred the probe of all cases and alleged deaths connected to it from the SIT and STF to the CBI.