SHAME AFTER SCAM

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Under fire Taint of Vyapam is adversely affecting the Chouhan government. photo: vijay pandey
Under fire Taint of Vyapam is adversely affecting the Chouhan government. Photo: Vijay Pandey

The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) seems to present a classic case of corruption by power. On the one hand, the Centre has remained unfazed on Vyapam; on the other, the Madhya Pradesh (MP) BJP leaders have been proffering offensive statements. Following Union Minister Sadananda Gowda’s egregious comment dismissing Vyapam as a ‘silly issue’, Nand Kumar Singh Chouhan, president of the state unit and Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan’s close aide Kailash Vijayvargiya also made one offensive statement after the other.

Nullifying the deaths and anomalies in the Vyapam scam, Chouhan said the party “doesn’t regret Vyapam — one or two thousand irregularities out of 7 lakh recruitments doesn’t make a difference”. Defending the CM, Chouhan went on to say, “Shivraj is as pure as gangajal”. Vijayvargiya who had already raked up controversy with his insensitive statement on the death of a TV journalist investigating the scam, said, “For us it (Vyapam) is chhutput (minor) scam… Our morale is not down.” Meanwhile, the state Congress is mulling possibilities of pushing a no-confidence motion against the chief minister in the state Assembly. The attempt is futile given the brute majority the BJP enjoys.

Meanwhile, the Supreme Court’s order to handover the investigation to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has been welcomed by both whistleblowers and the Opposition. Interestingly, they have already started questioning the transparency of the cbi investigation. “We demand a time-bound cbi enquiry under the supervision of Supreme Court. The investigation should be wrapped up in two years,” Parash Saklecha, whistleblower of Vyapam tells Tehelka. “CBI should ensure transparent investigation and monthly progress report should be made available in public domain.” Ashish Chaturvedi, another whistleblower also demands monitoring of the cbi investigation by the apex court. “Only SC monitoring can ensure that, unlike the STF-SIT investigation, the high-profile persons are exposed,” he said.

The CBI has been asked to its file its report to the apex court on 24 July when it is likely to take a call on monitoring the investigation. Transfer of the probe to CBI has given hope to the families of the deceased. “We hope justice will be delivered now,” Vikram Singh, the brother of Narendra Tomar, an accused in Vypam who allegedly died of heart attack inside Indore jail tells Tehelka.

The Supreme Court notice to the MP Governor Ram Naresh Yadav and the Centre might prove to be a major breakthrough. The governor, who so far has remained immune to any investigation owing to his constitutional position, can expect a knock on his doors soon. While the SC is still considering whether to order Yadav’s removal or not, the BJP has already clarified its stand saying it no longer believes that the Governor’s office enjoys this sort of immunity. The pressure is mounting on Yadav to relinquish the office, since news of him being ‘Accused No 10’ in the scam has surfaced. “The notice by the Supreme Court has given us hope that those who curtailed and curbed the rights of the common man will soon be behind bars,” says Chaturvedi.

Taking into account the multi-layered nature of the scam, the nexus of high-profile racketeers and mounting political pressures, the CBI will have a tough task at hand. “It is a long followed culture in India, first the police delays and derails the investigation and once the public anger is at its peak, transfers the probe to CBI. This means that the government is at ease and public lives in delusion of justice,” a source tells Tehelka on condition of anonymity. Regardless of the progress of investigation, the constant barrage of insensitive statements by Chouhan’s aides are further denting his image, raising suspicion whether he has blood on his hands.

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