(VYAPAM PACKAGE) Tainted Vyapam renamed twice since 2015; role shrunk, shifted to another dept

The ‘Vyapam’ scam, which has remained somewhat of a mystery so far due to a number of suspicious deaths and the strong nexus between politicians, bureaucrats and outsiders — its department is now known as the ‘Staff Selection Board’.

The Vyapam scam was unearthed in 2013 and since then the BJP led Shivraj Singh Chouhan government has changed its name twice. The name of the department, Vyapam (Vyavsayik Pariksha Mandal), which is responsible for conducting exams and recruitment of state government employees, has been recently changed in January this year.

The state government first rechristened it as Professional Examination Board (PEB) in 2015 and again in February this year renamed it as Karmchaari Chayan Mandal (Staff Selection Board).

Sources told IANS that since the scam was unearthed during the BJP government in 2013, it was renamed in 2015 in a bid to repair at least some of the damage to its reputation. And it was changed again with the same intent in February 2022.

Besides the renaming, the department which used to come under the technical education department of the Madhya Pradesh government, has now been transferred to the general administration department.

In February this year, when the scam-tainted board was renamed for a second time, the opposition took a jibe at the Shivraj Singh Chouhan government saying, “The name change has been done to wipe away the taint acquired by Vyapam during the BJP’s rule.”

The body then known as Vyapam was at the epicentre of a massive scam that involved rigging entrance tests to professional courses and fraud in the recruitment of employees and officers to various departments in the state government.

The scam was at first investigated by the state police, but the case was later transferred to the CBI on the orders of the Supreme Court. A series of suicides and deaths of the accused made the case even more sinister.

The scam tainted Vyapam, which is now called PEB, “is responsible for holding recruitment tests for the selection of class III and IV employees in various departments of the state government. Earlier, it also used to conduct entrance tests for engineering and medical courses in the state, but since those examinations are now conducted at the all-India level, its role has shrunk,” said an official associated with the department.

More importantly, though the department was renamed twice in the last seven years, questions regarding its credibility and way of functioning kept surfacing at regular intervals. A fresh allegation against the department was made recently and interestingly, the allegations were levelled by the same whistleblower – Anand Rai – who was one of those who had exposed the scam back in 2013.

Rai and a Congress leader K. K. Mishra had alleged a couple of months back that the exam papers of the Teacher Eligibility Test (exam was conducted by Vyapam) have been leaked. The duo accused the Chief Minister’s OSD Laxman Singh Markam of it.

The duo had shared a purported screen shot of Markam’s mobile phone (as they claimed) on social media and had demanded an investigation into the matter. However, that allegation remained just a political controversy and FIRs were registered against Rai and Mishra. Later, Rai, who is a state government employee, was suspended from his post due to some departmental issues. And this issue died down.

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