The Supreme Court on Monday agreed to hear a clutch of petitions demanding an independent, court-monitored probe into the Vyapam scam, even as Home Minister Rajnath Singh said that the Centre would order a CBI probe into the case only if the courts intervened.
A bench led by Chief Justice H L Dattu fixed the matter for hearing on July 9 after a counsel for one of the petitioners sought an urgent hearing. The bench is likely to take up five petitions, including one by Congress leader Digvijaya Singh and another filed on Monday by AAP leader Kumar Vishwas.
One common prayer in all these petitions relates to monitoring of the probe by the apex court. Most of these petitions have also demanded that the probe be handed over to the CBI.
One of these petitions has sought the removal of MP Governor Ram Naresh Yadav, alleging his involvement in the scam, while Vishwas’s plea stated that despite monitoring by the High Court, there seemed to be no headway in the probe and that people linked with the scam were dying under suspicious circumstances.
Talking to reporters in Jhabua, after speaking to Madhya Pradesh CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan on the issue, Rajnath Singh said: “As Home Minister, I am ready for a CBI probe. But it is already being investigated by a Special Investigation Team (SIT) under the supervision of the High Court… the High Court has said no (to a CBI probe).”
The Home Minister added that a CBI probe would be ordered “the minute the High Court or Supreme Court intervenes”.
Chouhan had earlier cited the same reason while refusing to call for a CBI investigation into the admissions and recruitment scam involving the Madhya Pradesh Professional Examination Board (MPPEB).
In New Delhi, BJP leaders said the party was firmly behind Chouhan even as the Opposition and activists have alleged that those linked to him were involved in the scam.
Party sources said the Chouhan-led government has submitted all documents related to the scam to the national leadership which is “convinced that there is nothing to put the state government or the party in the dock”.
”There are 55 FIRs and 2,500 accused. It was this government that initiated the probe. As for the deaths of the accused, five happened outside the state. Besides, no family member of the deceased has complained against the state government,” a party leader said.
The party has decided to approach the Vyapam scam as an “issue that has been politicised and exaggerated by the Opposition Congress party”, the leader added.
”The party is also keen on a free and fair probe. But the SIT is investigating (the scam) and reporting to the High Court. Any other investigation is possible only if the High Court decides or the Supreme Court intervenes,” said another party leader.