A week after it ordered a CBI probe into the Vyapam scam, the Supreme Court on Thursday also put under its scanner the alleged irregularities in admissions into private dental and medical colleges of Madhya Pradesh and asked the probe agency if this should also be investigated.
Inclined to expand the ambit of the CBI probe into the admission tests scandal in MP, a Bench led by Chief Justice H L Dattu issued notices to the Centre, state government and Vyapam (Madhya Pradesh Professional Examination Board), seeking their replies within four weeks.
The Dental and Medical Admission Test (DMAT) is conducted by the Association of Private Dental and Medical Colleges every year for admissions to private colleges. While 58 per cent of the seats are filled up by private colleges under management and NRI quota, 42 per cent seats are filled up through Vyapam.
Prodded by the Vyapam link, the whistleblowers in the scam — Anand Rai and Ashish Chaturvedi — moved the apex court seeking a CBI probe into the DMAT as well.
Appearing for the whistleblowers, advocates Kapil Sibal and Prashant Bhushan stressed that the issue was connected to the Vyapam scam and the Bench must direct the CBI to look into alleged irregularities in DMAT.
The Bench initially expressed its reluctance pointing out that while Vyapam was conducted by the state government, DMAT was being managed by private colleges, making the two very distinct. The lawyers, however, succeeded in convincing the Bench that it must consider getting all the cases investigated together since DMAT and Vyapam were linked as a large number of seats in private medical colleges were filled up under the state quota.
The lawyers also told the court that despite many high-profile people being allegedly involved in the scam, no FIR had been lodged till date, alleging that 721 seats of the state quota in private colleges were sold off for a hefty amount between 2010-2013.
Earlier in the day, the CBI approached the Bench, requesting it to direct the Special Task Force (STF) to continue prosecution in the Vyapam scam till the time the agency could take over the entire investigation. Additional Solicitor General Maninder Singh said the STF was hesitant to move ahead even in cases where chargesheets are ready.