Vyapam scam: Rajnath’s no to CBI probe, opposition attacks (Roundup)

Bhopal/New Delhi, July 6 (IANS) The central government on Monday rejected calls for a CBI probe into the Vyapam scam in Madhya Pradesh, even as a police trainee recruited through Vyapam was found dead in Sagar district.

The Congress, the AAP and the CPI-M stepped up attacks on the central and Madhya Pradesh governments over the rising number of deaths in the recruitment scandal. Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan, however, insisted that every death cannot be linked to the scam.

The trainee woman police sub-inspector, Anamika Kushwaha, became the third alleged victim of the Vyapam scam since Saturday. She was selected through the Madhya Pradesh Vyavsayik Pareeksha Mandal or Vyapam. Her body was found near a pond in the Police Training Centre in Sagar.

Sagar’s Superintendent of Police Sachin Atulkar, however, denied any connection between her death and the scam.

On Sunday, Arun Sharma, dean of the Netaji Subhas Chandra Medical College at Jabalpur, who was connected with the probe into the scandal, was found dead in a hotel room near Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International Airport.

A day earlier, television journalist Akshay Singh died dramatically in Jhabua in Madhya Pradesh soon after interviewing the family of one of the accused in the scam who had died.

Chief Minister Chouhan, under pressure from the opposition to quit, said that while every death was sad, “it is not fair to link every death to Vyapam”.

More than 40 people associated with the admission and recruitment racket in Vyapam have died since 2013 — either in mysterious circumstances or have committed suicide.

The admission and recruitment racket apparently involves politicians, officials and businessmen.

The Congress on Monday demanded a Supreme Court-monitored CBI probe into the scandal and sought Chouhan’s resignation.

“The chief minister is the kingpin of the Vyapam scam. Any probe into it will essentially require that he is thoroughly interrogated and investigated,” Congress spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said. “This is only possible if he steps down as chief minister.”

But central Home Minister Rajnath Singh said there was no need for a CBI inquiry as the Special Investigation Team probing the scam reported to the Madhya Pradesh High Court, not the state government.

“The SIT is not working under the government, but under the supervision of the high court,” Singh said in Jhabua.

Delhi Chief Minister and AAP leader Arvind Kejriwal demanded that Prime Minister Narendra Modi should “no more remain silent” over the scam, which has snowballed into a major row.

“People want the prime minister to speak and intervene in Vyapam. The PM should no more remain silent,” he tweeted.

The Bharatiya Janata Party accused the Congress of playing politics over “dead bodies” and said only the Madhya Pradesh High Court can refer the investigation to the CBI.

BJP spokesperson Shahnawaz Hussain told the Congress to have faith in the judiciary.

Another Aam Aadmi Party leader, Kumar Vishwas, on Monday filed a public interest litigation (PIL) in the Supreme Court.

“I have filed a PIL with the Supreme Court, requesting it to probe the Vyapam scam immediately,” Vishwas told reporters.

Communist Party of India-Marxist leader Brinda Karat alleged that the SIT was protecting Chouhan, adding she did not believe that an impartial investigation would be carried out in Madhya Pradesh.

Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar said it was the government’s duty to “clear all doubts”. “An atmosphere of suspicion has been created.”

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