Scam-tainted Vyapam spends Rs 60 lakh on lawyers’ fees

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From the time the Vyapam scam came to light in 2013 and the investigations began, the Madhya Pradesh Professional Examination Board, (or Vyapam as it is popularly known) has so far spent Rs.60 lakh on its 12 lawyers for various cases, a reply to an RTI plea has revealed. It also brought to light a disparity in payments with a few of them paid not a penny for their cases, while a few others have earned lakhs of rupees.

An RTI reply received by Ajay Dubey from the MP examination board this month shows that Purushaindra Kaurav, practising at the Madhya Pradesh High Court at Jabalpur, was paid Rs.4,52,000 for 302 cases in 2013, Rs 38,41,000 for 407 cases in 2014 and Rs 3,40,500 for 76 cases in 2015.

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A Supreme Court lawyer, Rahul Srivastava, was paid Rs 55,000 for two cases in 2014 and Rs 9,32,500 for 42 cases in 2015.

Meanwhile, Vivek Khedekar, another high court lawyer, has received no payment so far for 12 cases in 2015 even though he got a payment of Rs 36,000 for nine cases and 40,000 for 20 cases in 2013 and 2014 respectively.

Another lawyer, Shobitaditya Srivastava, received no payment for seven cases in 2014 and 2015, while being paid Rs.4,000 for seven cases in 2013, the RTI reply showed.

Among the others, Manoj Trivedi has not received his payment for seven cases in 2014 and 2015; Akash Sharma, who got Rs.96,000 for 22 cases in 2013 and Rs.44,000 for nine cases in 2014, is yet to get his payment for 10 cases in 2015.

M.P.S Raghuvanshi received no payment for two cases in 2014 and Anamika Kumar is yet to be paid for her case in 2015 (she received Rs.24,000 for seven cases in 2013).

The RTI reply also shows that lawyer Rahul Dibakar earned Rs.36,000 for nine cases in 2013, Rs.24,000 for 19 cases in 2014 and Rs.8,000 for 11 cases in 2015.

Lawyer Piyush Dubey earned Rs.64,000 for 30 cases in 2013, Dipak Chadna received Rs. 8,000 for four cases in 2013 and Raghubir Singh Chouhan received Rs.20,000 for four cases in 2013.

The irregularities in Vyapam came to light when 20 people were arrested in 2013 for impersonation in an entrance examination held in 2009. Vyapam conducts examinations to recruit government employees in Madhya Pradesh and holds admission tests for medical courses.

Forty-eight people associated with the Vyapam scam have died – mostly under mysterious circumstances. Following the chain of deaths, the Supreme Court in July directed the CBI to investigate not just the Vyapam scam but also the deaths related to it.

The recent death was of an Indian Forest Service officer, Vijay Bahadur Singh, whose body was found by a railway track near Odisha’s Belpahad station on October 15. He was travelling by the Puri-Jodhpur Express. The CBI has started probing this death as well.

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