Vyapam: Why whistle-blowers are unhappy with CBI probe so far
Ninth of July will mark completion of one year of handing over of the probe in Madhya Pradesh's Vyapam scam to the CBI, on orders of the Supreme Court. In a testimony to how the probe has progressed under the agency, some of those very whistle-blowers who had petitioned the apex court for a CBI probe are now upset at the work done so far.
This has come against the background of a media report that claims the CBI has not found any "political conspiracy" in the scam.
In keeping with the SC's orders, the agency had taken over the probe from the Special Task Force of Madhya Pradesh police on 13 July, 2015. CBI director Anil Sinha had reportedly constituted a 40-member team for the probe. However, activists based in various locations in the state who have been observing the case for a long time now say that the probe has been tardy.
Many complaints pending
Indore-based Dr Anand Rai, former Medical Officer in the state government's Health Department and a whistle-blower in the scam, lashed out at the CBI, on three counts -
- Rai said over 15 complaints are pending with the agency in which not even Preliminary Enquiry has been initiated. These include complaints made personally by him too.
- When he asked the CBI to take cognisance of these complaints, the agency came up with a typical bureaucratic response that it was working only on FIRs that the SC asked it to take over. The truth is, Rai said, SC had asked the agency to probe the scam in totality. Indeed there is little scope of ambiguous interpretation in SC's order to CBI to probe "all criminal cases relating to the Vyapam scam and death of people allegedly related to it".
- Rai also alleged that an unusually large number of high-profile suspects have either been acquitted or released on bail. These include former state education minister Laxmikant Sharma, former DIG police RK Shivhare, Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan's personal assistant Prem Prasad, former Vyapam director Yogesh Uprit, Congress leader Sanjeev Saxena, chairman of Sri Aurobindo Institute of Medical Sciences (SAIMS), Dr Vinod Bhandari, his junior Pradeep Raghuvanshi, former transport minister Jagdish Devda's personal assistant, Rajendra Gurjar, RSS member Dr Ajay Shankar Mehta and many others.
Rai also alleged that the union government was pressuring the CBI.
Charge-sheets against low-profile accused
Gwalior-based whistle-blower, Ashish Chaturvedi, alleged that the CBI probe has been reduced to a joke. He said so many people who used to run the 'system' in the state are accused in the case and yet the CBI feels that there was no organised corruption? Chaturvedi said one question surpasses all others in gravity - has the truth behind all the deaths related to Vyapam come out?
He also pointed out that the CBI spokesperson has said that six charge-sheets have been filed but the point to be noted is that all these are in low-profile cases. According to Chaturvedi, all these have been filed in cases related to the actual candidates and middlemen who benefited from the scam and not the big fish who were the real powers behind the operation of the entire racket for several years.
8-month delay in filing status report with SC
Former independent MLA from Ratlam, Paras Saklecha, alleged that CBI is making all possible efforts to save CM Chouhan, whom he and many other activists accuse to be involved in the scam. He said he himself had submitted a 100-page letter to the CBI with 350 pages of evidence specifically pointing out at the CM's involvement, but that is yet to be probed.
He also alleged that the CBI has not registered any new case apart from the 212 cases that the STF had registered. Even out of these, the CBI says that the SC had asked it to take over only those 185 cases that had been registered till the day of the SC order, 9 July. CBI has categorically told him that it will not probe the other cases, against which he intends to complain to the SC soon. Further, Saklecha alleged that the CBI has also been delaying filing of status report of its probe in the SC for 8 months now.
Also read: Vyapam deaths likely to get clean chit