Madhya Pradesh chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan said on Tuesday he will ask the high court to order a CBI probe into the Vyapam scam after the state government was rattled by a series of mysterious deaths of people with links to the examination and recruitment scandal.
"I have full faith in the judiciary but recent events have led to an atmosphere that the investigation should be done by the CBI," he said, reiterating that a high court-monitored special investigation team (SIT) is already probing the matter.
"But the environment that has been created in recent days, questions us (the state government)," Chouhan told a hurriedly convened news conference in Bhopal.
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Chouhan said he respected "public opinion" and will send a request to the high court in a letter to instruct the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to probe the scam.
His comments came a day after Union home minister Rajnath Singh said the government could not order a probe by the central agency till it received an order from the Supreme Court or the Madhya Pradesh high court.
Questions have been raised about the future of Chouhan in the wake of a series of mysterious deaths of witnesses, accused and whistleblowers linked to the scam that involved widespread rigging of tests conducted by the Madhya Pradesh Professional Examination Board (MPPEB) for admission to professional courses and recruitment in government jobs.
More than 2,000 people have been arrested in connection with the scandal, also known as the Vyapam scam from the Hindi acronym of the MPPEB, since it came to light in 2013. As many as 40 people with links to the scam have died mysteriously.
Many politicians, bureaucrats and middlemen are said to be involved in the scam which, according to police, involved scamsters employing imposters to write tests conducted by the MPPEB.
The scamsters also supplied forged answer sheets by bribing officials between 2012 and 2013.
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