Bhopal: The Congress on Monday took on BJP government in Madhya Pradesh and the state Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan over the alleged Madhya Pradesh professional Examination Board (MPPEB) scam.
Addressing a press conference here, Congress leaders, Kamal Nath, Digvijay Singh and JM Scindia said that they would fight against the scam till the end.
Senior Supreme Court lawyers, KTS Tulsi and Vivek Tankha were also accompanying them.
State Congress leader Suresh Pachouri, PCC President, Arun Yadav and Leader of Opposition in the state assembly, Satyadev Katare also joined the joint press conference and demanded a CBI probe into the scam and sought Chouhan's resignation.
Attacking the CM, Kamal Nath said that “it was not just a scam, but an injustice with the youth of the country,” adding, “The investigating agency in the vyapam scam works under CM, now we have given enough proof, Madhya Pradesh CM should resign.”
Adding on, Scindia said that the issue concerned the future of Madhya Pradesh.
“We want justice for 7 Crore people of MP and the youth,” he said, adding, “The tampering of evidence is also serious case of forgery.”
Meanwhile, Tulsi maintained that the evidence in the scam which is a hard disk, had been tampered with,” and that the original excel sheet in the hard disk had the CM's name as many as 48 times.
He alleged that the seized hard disk was not sealed allowing tampering of the evidence, which was a “very serious offence”.
On his part, Digvijay said that the usual procedures of investigation were not followed by the STF under the CM.
Digvijay said that he has filed a statement under oath before the SIT that words 'CM' occurred at 48 places. This was changed to just 'minister' at 21 places, then 'Uma Bharati' at 18 places and 'Ms' at one place. In 18 places, it has been altered to be left blank, Congress leaders alleged, adding, ""Besides, Minister 2, Minister 3 and Minister 4 mentioned at 17 places as sponsor/recommender in original excel sheet but all of them changed/replaces with "Minister."
“MP Minister Laxmikant Sharma is in jail since one year on the crime committed by Shivraj Singh Chouhan and his family,” he further said.
Digvijay also contended, "When Laxmikant Sharma has been put behind the bars drawing an inference that "Minister" is excel sheet is Laxmikant Sharma. If the same logic is applied to "CM", then even CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan should be booked for the same crime."
In fact, "Uma Bhartiji" is mentioned originally at 10 places as sponsor but in fudged excel sheet the number is 17, there is an attempt to magnify her role by investigating agencies, Digvijay said, adding, "If my charges are wrong which I have leveled under oath, the government is free to prosecute me."
The MPPEB scam was unearthed in July, 2013 by Indore Police by arresting "Munnabhais" (scorers) who appeared for original candidates in Pre-Medical Test (PMT) examination conducted by the Board. Later, the government handed over the case to STF for detailed investigations.
During investigations, it also came to light that the scam also involves other examinations including for recruitment of contractual teachers, patwaris and transport inspectors and others.
Congress has been demanding right from start a CBI probe into the scam and Digvijay Singh had initially filed a petition in the high court on the issue, which while rejecting the CBI probe demand, constituted SIT to oversee the STF investigations.
When his petition was rejected by the HC, he filed an appeal in the Supreme Court which was too met the same fate.
Earlier, Digvijay had appeared before Justice Chandresh Bushan-led special investigation team (SIT).
The SIT had been constituted by High Court to monitor STF investigations into MPPEB scam.
He had submitted a report claiming important electronic evidence in the case, Nitin Mohindra's excel sheet, had been tempered by investigating officers.
Rejecting their accusations, Madhya Pradesh Health and Family Welfare minister and government spokesperson Narottam Mishra said the allegations were "baseless and without any substance," as per PTI.
"The allegations leveled by them are imaginary, baseless and without any substance. We have full faith in the SIT, STF, High Court and the Supreme Court. If necessary, we will probe these charges," Mishra said.
Also reacting to the allegation by the Congress, BJP spokesperson GVL Narasimha Rao said that the grand old party had made similar accusations in past and all of them had proved to be utterly false.
“I believe all the allegations made today will also be wrong, necessary details to emerge soon, Rao said, as per ANI.
On October 05, 2013, the SIT had filed a charge sheet against 28 persons in connection with the PMT scam allegedly involving MPPEB officials and racketeers.
The charge sheet, running over 3,000 pages, was filed in the court of First Class Judicial Magistrate Manoj Kumar Ladiya, District Prosecution Office Vimal Kumar Chhajed had said then, as per PTI.
The charge sheet included names of Dr Jagdish Singh Sagar, Tarang Sharma and Santosh Gupta, alleged masterminds of three separate gangs, besides three officers of MPPEB, namely Ajay Sen, Chandrakant Mishra and Nitin Mahendra, he had said.
The accused were charged under sections 419 (cheating by personation), 420 (cheating), 467 (making forged documents), 471 (using as genuine a forged document), 201 (causing disappearance of evidence of offence) and 120-B (criminal conspiracy) of IPC besides IT Act and other related laws.
The PMT was conducted on July 7, 2013.
And on July 19, 2014, over 100 students who had allegedly cleared the PMT through unfair means were arrested by the Special Task Force from different districts of Madhya Pradesh.
The arrests were carried out after Madhya Pradesh High Court, monitoring the scam, had directed the STF to submit a status report in the matter on June 30, sources had said, as per PTI.
The arrests were made from different districts, including Indore, Dhar, Jhabua, Khargone, Bhopal, Indore, Ujjain, Jabalpur and Sagar, after state Director General of Police had directed all the district police chiefs in this regard.
During a recent hearing, the High Court had taken a strong view and had asked police why high and mighty and absconding accused persons in connection with the scam were not yet arrested by the STF, sources had said then.
Following this, the STF had arrested former state technical education minister and BJP leader Laxmikant Sharma on June 15 for his alleged involvement in the contractual teachers recruitment scam.
The contractual teachers examination too was conducted by the MPPEB.
With Agency inputs