The Central Bureau of Investigation had pulled out 20 officers from its special “Vyapam Scam Branch” in Bhopal that was investigating it. These 20 transfers happened in a single day.
Even though more than 50 cases remain uninvestigated to this date, 70% of the staff had been removed in the past six months, from the investigation of one of the biggest recruitment scam the country had ever witnessed.
The CBI took over the investigation of all the cases in Vyapam Scam from the Special Task Force of Madhya Pradesh in 2015. This included the deaths of 50 people involved in this scam, in unknown circumstances. After the order of Supreme Court, a team of 40 people was composed to investigate it under a Joint Director level officer.
The CBI created Vyapam Scam branch in 2016 and picked 100 officers from North and South including DIGs, DSPs and inspectors and sent them to Bhopal for investigation and quick action. A 40 member team was constructed. All the 20 officers that are withdrawn from the Vyapam branch worked in the anti-corruption branch of the investigation agency.
About The Vyapam Scam
The Vyapam Scam is one of the most known recruitment scam which includes politicians, businessmen and officials in Madhya Pradesh Professional Examination Board (MPPEB). It is popularly known as Vyavsayik Pariksha Mandal (Vyapam) scam.
The scam involved 13 examinations held by the Vyapam for recruitment of state government employees, school teachers, forest guards, police officers and food inspectors. During the investigation, many people involved in this scam and also involved in probing the scam died.
Congress leader Digvijay Singh gave a writ petition in 2015 to Supreme Court asking for a forensic investigation of the documents involved together with the hard disc seized from the Vyapam office. The CBI replied that Singh has no proof of the allegations he had made. Congress also made claims that the agency worked under BJP.
In its first report, the CBI claimed to set up a special zone with a workforce of 500 to investigate the scam. In a status report submitted before the Supreme Court in September 2015, the CBI stated, “The colossal task of investigating 107 cases of corruption and nearly 50 cases of suspected deaths related to Vyapam and examining more than 2,000 accused persons cannot be done with the existing manpower and infrastructure.” Therefore the zone was named “AC HQ-II Zone” of CBI. Orders were implemented and infrastructure was to be equipped with building, vehicles and other facilities.
Madhya Pradesh blemished with Vyapam scam will go under elections this year. Congress is quite piqued after CBI withdrew their 20 officers from the Vyapam branch. They claimed that the CBI was just working for BJP and cleared charges even from the accused.
According to a TOI report, KK Mishra, the spokesperson of Congress said, “The Congress had demanded a CBI inquiry into Vyapam scam with much hope, but it ended up giving a clean-chit to many of those who controlled the scam. I think they should close this branch.”
The officials of CBI said that the transfer is a regular process and out of 50 cases, 40 had been progressed to an advanced stage. Therefore, there’s no need to look into the transfers critically. According to a TOI report, the agency claimed, “In more than 100 cases, people have been charge sheeted, and trials are on. Some officials will be transferred as a matter of routine. There’s no reason to shut down the branch.”
The Comptroller and Auditor General’s report in 2017 blamed the Madhya Pradesh government for “systematic subversion of rules” in the designation of director of Vyapam.
The scam is not just about illegal recruitment; it turned out to be a much larger picture when the deaths were associated with it. The involvement of political powers and propaganda are another reason for the not so smooth investigation.