Faced with simultaneous legal and political challenges, Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan on Tuesday announced that he would write to the high court to order a CBI probe in the Vyapam scam that has caught the nation’s attention.
So far, the CM had maintained that the high court was already monitoring the ongoing probe by the Special Task Force (STF) and even the Supreme Court had rejected petitions seeking a CBI probe.
At a hurriedly called press conference, the CM said that questions are being asked and they need to be answered. “The ruler should be above suspicion. Bowing to public pressure I have decided to write to the high court for a CBI probe,’’ he said and added that he had no doubts about the ongoing probe but given the prevailing atmosphere (of mistrust and fear in the wake of unexplained deaths) wanted to remove all doubts.
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Facing his toughest test so far, Chouhan said he did not sleep the whole night. His decision to seek CBI probe followed the Supreme Court’s decision on Tuesday to hear petitions related to the Vyapam scam on July 9, and a fierce attack on him by Union Minister Uma Bharati.
“I respect her and did not say a word against her even when she was out of the BJP,’’ Chohan said when asked for his reaction to Bharati’s demand for a probe, especially the period when she was named an accused in early January 2014 before being given a clean chit by the police.
On Monday, she had told a news channel that she was not only scared about her own life but also about 17 beneficiaries who were linked to her in the police records. “May be she has bared her heart,’’ he responded to her criticism and said let the CBI even probe the allegations leveled by her.
Chouhan said his government would take the same stand (seeking a CBI probe) when the petitions are heard by the Supreme Court on Thursday.
“I am sensitive. My life has been transparent,’’ he said suggesting that he or his family members were not involved in the scam. He reiterated the Congress was not bothered about punishing the guilty or those who have died but only want to target him and to sully his image.
Earlier, Home Minister Rajnath Singh, who met Chouhan in Jhabua on Monday, had ruled out a CBI probe saying the courts had rejected petitions seeking the same. However, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley had taken a different line to favour a probe by another agency. Bharati had quoted Jaitley in her interview.