Nearly 2,000 accused in the sensational multi-layered Madhya Pradesh Professional Examination Board (MPPEB) scam have been arrested so far, while around 800 who are yet at large would be nabbed in around five months, MP home minister Babulal Gaur said on Monday.
“Nearly 2,000 people, including former minister Laxmikant Sharma, Sri Aurobindo Institute of Medical Science (SAIMS) chairman Vinod Bhandari and former MPPEB official Pankaj Trivedi have been arrested so far by the Special Task Force (STF) which is probing the sensational scam,” Gaur said.
“Around 800 more accused are yet to be arrested and they would be caught in five months,” Gaur said, adding that the Supreme Court had granted four more months to the STF to complete its probe.
The home minister said there is no need for a CBI probe into the scam as demanded by Congress general secretary Digvijay Singh and others, since the probe is on under strict supervision of the MP high court which constituted the SIT.
He also dismissed the Congress general secretary’s demand that a hard disk in connection with the case should be sent to a Chandigarh-based forensic science laboratory, saying that the facility in Ahmedabad is competent to deal with such cases.
Congress general secretary and others, including former Union ministers Kamal Nath and Jyotiraditya Scindia as well as senior Supreme Court advocates like KTS Tulsi and Vivek Tankha alleged in a joint press conference on February 16, claiming that the Madhya Pradesh chief minister had made recommendations to select 48 candidates in the Contractual Teacher Group II exam.
Besides, Digvijay Singh had also submitted documents along with an affidavit to the Special Investigation Team (SIT) alleging that an excel sheet recovered from the hard disk of a seized computer had been tampered by removing references to ‘CM’ at 48 places,” he said.
“However, the fact is that the probe agency had seized the hard disk and its analysis was done at the forensic laboratory based in Ahmedabad. Investigations are being carried out on the basis of its probe report,” Gaur said.
On the issue of irregularities in selection of transport constables, the minister said that out of the total 327 posts advertised, a similar number of people have been shortlisted for the job. However, among those shortlisted, 39 candidates did not join service despite being selected, he said, adding that they have been treated as “suspects” in the case.
“Among these 39 candidates, so far 17 people have been arrested while a hunt is on to nab the remaining 22,” the minister said.
When specifically asked about the Congress allegation that among these, a number of candidates were from Gondia in Maharashtra, which happens to be the home town of the Madhya Pradesh chief minister’s wife, Gaur said, “The matter is under investigation”. He also clarified that exams were open to all candidates and any Indian citizen could apply for it.
The Congress general secretary had filed a complaint to STF, alleging that candidates of this (transport constable) examination had studied outside Madhya Pradesh or are not bonafide residents of the state.
In the case of Madhya Pradesh Governor Ram Naresh Yadav, against whom the STF registered an FIR in the forest guard recruitment scam, the minister said that the High Court issued notices to those concerned on a petition filed by him (Yadav) and sought their replies by March 25.
Until then the court had stayed his arrest in the case, the home minister said.