In a controversial decision, the Central Bureau of Investigation has reportedly withdrawn at least 20 officers from its Vyapam team. This despite 50 cases related to Vyapam scam remaining pending in Madhya Pradesh.
The federal probe agency had set up its Vyapam team in 2016 at Professors’ Colony office in Bhopal. This was after as many 50 people related to the Vyapam scam were killed in mysterious circumstances. Among those killed was also a journalist working for Aaj Tak channel.
A report by Times of India said that the CBI has now removed 70% of its staff from the special Vyapm team in the last six months.
With the state scheduled to go for crucial assembly polls later this year, the opposition Congress has been quick to pounce on the BJP government. KK Mishra, a spokesperson with the Congress said, “The Congress had demanded a CBI inquiry into Vyapam scam with a lot of hope, but it ended up giving a clean chit to many of those who controlled the scam. I think they should close this branch.”
The CBI, for its part, said that the recent withdrawal of 20 officers will not impact the pending cases in Vyapam scam. One CBI officer was quoted by Times of India as saying, “In more than 100 cases, people have been chargesheeted and trials are on. Some officials will be transferred as a matter of routine. There’s no reason to shut down the branch.”
A report of the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG), released in early 2017, had slammed the state government headed by Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan over the Vyapam scam. The CAG had passed strictures against the Madhya Pradesh government for “systematic subversion of rules” in appointment of director and controller of the scam-tainted professional examination board.
The scam pertains to alleged irregularities in job recruitments and admissions by the state professional Examination Board, known by its Hindi name Vyapam.