Candidates accused in Vyapam must be made approvers: Digvijaya (Interview)

New Delhi, July 14 (IANS) Candidates and their parents named as accused in the Vyapam recruitment scam should be made approvers in the case, Congress leader and former Madhya Pradesh chief minister Digvijaya Singh said on Tuesday.

“Police officials and others who have made money from these candidates should be the accused. They should be behind bars,” Digvijaya Singh told IANS in an exclusive interview here.

Asked about the string of some 45 deaths linked to the scandal, many in mysterious circumstances, Digvijaya Singh said while he could not claim that these were linked to the scam, matters did appear to be suspicious.

“It is suspicious how so many young people have died due to seemingly innocuous reasons.”

Reacting to Home Minister Rajnath Singh’s clean chit to Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan in the Vyapam scam, Digvijaya Singh said the comment was “unbecoming” of the union minister.

“Statements of this kind will effectively prejudice the IPS (Indian Police Service) officers investigating this case. It is most unbecoming of the home minister to give this kind of statement.”

The Madhya Pradesh Professional Examination Board, better known as Vyapam, short for Vyavsayik Pariksha Mandal, has been mired in controversies for years.

The scam came to light when 20 people were arrested in 2013 for impersonating candidates meant to appear in the 2009 medical entrance examination.

Vyapam conducts examinations to recruit Class III and IV employees in the state as well as admission tests for medical courses. More than 2,000 people have been arrested so far in connection with the scandal.

Digvijaya Singh welcomed the CBI takeover of the investigation but insisted that the Supreme Court must monitor the probe.

“We had asked the Madhya Pradesh CM to order a CBI probe first and we objected to the Special Task Force (STF) comprising only Madhya Pradesh Police officers investigating the scam.”

According to him, Madhya Pradesh Police personnel would find it difficult to investigate their own chief minister.

The STF was due to submit its report on the Vyapam scam when the CBI probe was ordered. This effectively means that the STF report will not be released now.

Asked if he believed Chouhan would step down, Digvijaya Singh replied in the negative, saying such a development would trigger a chain reaction.

“The MP CM knew about the whole thing. He was the person who put everybody involved in the scam in place. How can he not be aware of a scam of this size happening right under his nose?”

“But I don’t expect him to resign. Too many top leaders of the BJP and RSS are involved. (His resignation) will lead to a chain reaction.”

Digvijaya Singh said the first information report names prominent RSS leaders like Suresh Soni and the late Sudarshan.

Mihir Kumar, a supposed beneficiary of the scam, reportedly told the STF that Sudarshan and Soni’s recommendations got him a job as a food inspector through the MP Professional Examination Board. Soni has denied the allegation. Kumar is currently on bail.

According to the senior Congress leader, the BJP government was not serious about getting to the bottom of this case and the CBI probe was announced only to pre-empt a Supreme Court order.

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