October 10, 2015 12:34:29 am
Three months after it ordered a CBI probe into Madhya Pradesh’s Vyapam scam, the Supreme Court on Friday observed that no person linked to the scam has died after it has started monitoring the matter.
When a bunch of petitions seeking a CBI probe were moved in the top court in July, more than 24 people allegedly linked to the Madhya Pradesh admission tests scam had died.
“I was wondering about it…how come deaths have stopped after we passed the order and the CBI took over these cases? I remember saying it on the first day of the hearing that we will not let the number of deaths go up,” observed a bench led by Chief Justice of India H L Dattu.
Appearing for the Madhya Pradesh government, Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi said he remembers the CJI’s observation in July about the deaths. However, he pointed out that the deaths were unrelated to the Vyapam scam. “I have personally inquired and discussed with the highest authority and officers in the state,” he asserted. An investigation by The Indian Express in July had also found that most of these deaths were either caused by accidents or illness.
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But the bench questioned if the AG can affirmatively say “all deaths” were unrelated to the scam. To this Rohatgi replied, “I can say most of these deaths were not related. But my lordship is right no new deaths have taken place.”
Representing petitioner and Congress leader Digvijaya Singh, senior advocate Kapil Sibal concurred with the bench that ever since the apex court has been monitoring the case, there have been no deaths.
The bench also said it would continue monitoring the matter till it was satisfied that all its orders have been complied with. “The CBI is still to take over more than 70 cases. It is not over in this court yet. It is a continuing mandamus. Let us see what happens,” it noted.
Meanwhile, Rohatgi and Solicitor General Ranjit Kumar, who was appearing for the CBI, apprised the bench of the Centre’s approval for sanctioning 321 new posts in the CBI to tackle manpower shortage in probing Vyapam and other similar scams.
The court was also informed that the probe agency has taken over 142 cases so far besides 21 such cases where chargesheets had been filed by the Special Task Force (STF) of state police concerned.
Sibal complained that no new arrests have taken place after the CBI took over but the bench said it was “satisfied” with the progress the probe agency has made. The court will hear the case next on November 23.
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