The Supreme Court on Thursday transferred to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) the investigation into the criminal cases related to the Vyapam scam and more than 40 deaths linked to it.
The CBI will begin its probe into the massive admission and recruitment scam in Madhya Pradesh from Monday as more skeletons tumbled out of the Vyapam cupboard with the death of yet another witness coming to light.
The SC, while directing the CBI to probe all cases of the Vyapam scam and alleged deaths of persons related to it, also issued notice to the central government, Madhya Pradesh government and Governor Ram Naresh Yadav on a plea challenging the Madhya Pradesh High Court order quashing the FIR against the state governor for his alleged involvement in forest guard recruitment scam on the grounds that he enjoyed immunity of the constitutional office he was occupying.
Congress had yesterday claimed 49 people associated with the scam had died so far.
The apex court’s order transferring all Vyapam-related cases to the CBI came after the state government gave its consent to shifting investigation from the Special Investiation Team (SIT) and the Special Task Force (STF).
A bench headed by Chief Justice HL Dattu said all cases will stand transferred to the CBI from Monday and the agency will file its report before it on July 24.
Before handing over the probe to the CBI, the apex court took on record the submission of Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi, who on behalf of the MP government, said the state has no objection to transferring the investigation in Vyapam and deaths of people allegedly related to it for a free and fair probe.
“The Attorney General (AG) on instruction states that MP govt has no objection whatsoever for transferring the investigation of criminal cases relating to Vyapam scam to the CBI and the cases related to deaths of those allegedly connected with the scam for free and fair probe.”
“We appreciate the stand of the AG. In view of the above we transfer investigation of all criminal cases relating to Vyapam scam and death of people allegedly related to it, to CBI,” the bench, also comprising Justices Arun Mishra and Amitava Roy, said.
The apex court was hearing a batch of petitions including one filed by senior Congress leader Digvijay Singh seeking CBI probe into all cases arising out of the Vyapam scam. As the Supreme Court ordered an inquiry by the central agency, reports came from Bhopal of a special court being informed about the death of yet another witness in the scam.
The Special Task Force of MP police, which hitherto investigated the scam, told the court that Sanjay Singh Yadav, aged around 35, died from illness at a private hospital in Bhopal on February 8. According to his family, he was suffering from Hepatitis-B.
The Supreme Court, while issuing notices relating to the Governor that are returnable after four weeks, refrained from making any remarks on him when Kapil Sibal, appearing on behalf of petitioners demanded that Yadav demit office to maintain its dignity.
“We are not going to say anything on it,” it said.
The STF had registered a case against Yadav, a former Congressman appointed to the post by the previous UPA government, for favouring some candidates appearing for tests conducted by MP Professional Examination Board (MPPEB), also known as Vyapam. The high court, however, quashed it citing immunity from prosecution he enjoys while in office.