New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Friday expressed satisfaction over the "substantial progress" made by the CBI in its investigation into the Vyapam scam in Madhya Pradesh.
"We have gone through the status report. We are satisfied that there is some substantial progress made by the CBI in these cases," a bench, comprising Chief Justice H L Dattu and Justices S A Bobde and Amitava Roy, said after perusing the report of the progress into the probe filed by the agency in a sealed cover.
Before passing the order, the CJI also observed that "I really wonder how deaths have completely stopped in Vyapam scam since apex court took over the matter on July 9 and entrusted the case to the CBI and monitored the probe."
When the petition was filed in the matter, it was stated that already 36 persons connected allegedly with the Vyapam scam have died and on July 9 when it was heard for the first time, the court was informed that it had climbed to 49.
However, the apex court had gone by the figure mentioned in the petition and said "we would not allow it to go up from 36 to 38."
In the today's hearing, the bench also took on record the status report of the Centre filed through Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi regarding filling of posts and creation of new posts in the CBI.
The bench also asked Solicitor General Ranjit Kumar to consider the plea of one of the petitioners, Congress leader Digvijaya Singh, that CBI should be handed over all other complaints pending with the Special Investigation Team (SIT) and Special Task Force (STF).
It also asked the CBI to consider the submission of senior advocate Kapil Sibal, appearing for his party colleague, to consider that all status reports filed by the state government probe agencies in Madhya Pradesh High Court be handed over to the CBI.
The bench posted the matter for further hearing on November 23 and noted the submission of the Attorney General that in four weeks from now all the process of appointments and filling of vacancies would be streamlined and made smooth.
The apex court on September 11 had turned down CBI's plea
for distinguishing between cases which were under probe and those pending trial and asked it to take over all Vyapam scam matters irrespective of their present status.
"You take over and the SIT/STF will cooperate with you, We will ask them to cooperate," the bench had said.
It had also ordered the CBI, which has shortlisted 19 persons as its prosecutors for Vyapam scam cases, to also appoint the remaining 29 public prosecutors by today.
The bench had asked CBI to move applications in trial courts concerned if it felt further probe or re-investigation is needed in any case.
The issue of shortfall of CBI sleuths to take over the investigation was also raised during the hearing and the bench asked Rohatgi, representing DoPT, to file a report detailing the steps taken or to be taken to meet the demand of the probe agency.
He had said around 900 posts have been sanctioned in CBI and steps were being taken to meet the paucity of officers.
The court had noted that the Vyapam cases which have now risen from 185 to 212 will be looked after by CBI, irrespective of the fact that in 78 of them the state's SIT/ STF have already filed charge sheets.
The apex court had on July 31 told CBI to inform it in three weeks about taking over probe of maximum number of cases out of 185 arising from the scam.
It had also asked DoPT to inform it about filling of necessary vacancies in the CBI as the agency has complained that shortage of manpower was coming in the way of probe and also sought AG's assistance on the issue of filling up of the vacancies.