Whenever cornered on the floor of the Assembly or outside in connection with the Vyapam scam, Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan has claimed that he was the one who first exposed the scam. He repeated this on Sunday at a press conference here amid the growing demand for an independent high-level probe after a journalist, who was covering the story, died under mysterious circumstances.
“I have not committed any crime by ordering a deeper probe into the Vyapam scam in July 2013. Actually, I am the first whistleblower because the probe exposed the complete gamut of the scam,’’ the Chief Minister said.
But facts tell a completely different story.
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In July 2009, while replying to a query by former Independent MLA Paras Saklecha, the CM had assured that the irregularities in the pre-medical test (PMT) will be investigated by a high-level team. “The team was constituted in December that year and, ironically, the main irregularities were committed only after this period,’’ Saklecha said on Sunday. Between 2008 and 2012, Chouhan was in charge of the Medical Education Department.
Saklecha alleged that Chouhan’s claim was misleading because before July 2013, several questions had been asked on the floor of the Assembly.
In fact, the first known FIR about irregularities in the PMT examination was lodged way back in 2000, but the number suddenly increased from 2004 onwards.
Chouhan has always claimed that he got a tip-off about rigging of 2013 PMT and he asked the Indore Crime Branch to investigate it. “I ordered the probe with a pavitra bhav (clean intent). The system needed to be overhauled,’’ he again claimed on Sunday.
Indore-based whistleblower Anand Rai said he had complained about the PMT scam much before. “It was my tip-off that led the police to arrest Jagdish Sagar, one of the prime accused in the case,’’ he said.
Sagar, who ran one of the syndicates, was the first major arrest in the PMT case in 2013.
His revelations and questioning of students and racketeers arrested removed the lid off the massive scam bringing several influential persons in the net.
Congress party’s main spokesperson K K Mishra said the Chief Minister’s claim was ridiculous. He said an FIR was lodged in Bhopal’s M P Nagar Police Station in 2009 and another FIR was lodged in Indore before July 2013.
Moreover, Mishra said an official of the CMO himself was under the scanner for recommending candidates.