The probe into the Vyapam admission and recruitment scandal in Madhya Pradesh has taken a turn with new evidence suggesting alleged tampering of records to shield the powerful, including the office of the chief minister. The opposition Congress is set to take up the issue with the special investigation team (SIT) probing the scandal.
Vyapam stands for the Madhya Pradesh Professional Examination Board, an autonomous body that conducts recruitment tests for various posts as well as admission to professional courses. Investigators have established that proxies appeared in the examinations with the connivance of Vyapam officials and middlemen.
The Congress has alleged that data retrieved from the computer of systems analyst Nitin Mahendra, who has been arrested, mentioned “CM” in a spreadsheet he maintained. Mahendra is said to have kept a record of roll numbers, names of candidates and those who recommended the candidates. The recovery of the sheet formed the basis for arrests.
The Congress claims there were 40 entries under the name “CM” in the spreadsheet recovered from Mahendra, but these were later replaced with “M/s” and “Umabharatiji”.
A spokesperson for the chief minister’s office said: “The matter is sub judice. It is being investigated by STF under the direct monitoring of the Hon’ble High Court. Therefore, no comment can be made.”
Special Task Force chief Sudhir Sahay did not comment. The STF is assisting the SIT in the probe.
Congress general secretary and former chief minister Digvijaya Singh said, “This employment scam is the biggest scam in the country today… The special task force is working to save the culprit. Our charge is that the whole Excel sheet which was recovered from Nitin Mahendra’s computer hard disk has been tampered with. It was sent to the state forensic lab in Gujarat with this purpose. We have evidence to show that the original list has been tampered… we will give the original to SIT.”
The Congress also alleged that the hard disk sent for forensic investigation was not the original. The party plans to provide evidence of manipulation of domicile certificates which, it alleges, was suppressed by the STF.
Last week, the STF named Governor Ram Naresh Yadav’s son Shailesh as an accused on the basis of statements of arrested students and evidence from the spreadsheet.
So far, former education minister Laxmikant Sharma, his OSD O P Shukla, former examination controller Pankaj Trivedi, mining baron Sudhir Sharma have been arrested. The STF has registered cases against 129 people.