At least 17 high-profile accused in the MP Vyapam case are now in the Central Bureau of Investigation’s (CBI) net, going by the first lot of FIRs that the agency has registered during the past two weeks.
However, the agency has refrained from revealing the names.
From July 15 to July 26, the CBI registered 15 FIRs in different cases pertaining to rigging of entrance and recruitment tests of the Vyapam, besides filing a murder case in the suspicious death of Namrata Damor, who was a prime witness and accused in the admission and recruitment scam.
The 15 cases have about 477 accused but the CBI has revealed the name of only five.
They are former minister Laxmikant Sharma, his former officer on special duty (OSD) OP Shukla, former former Vyapam officials Pankaj Trivedi and Nitin Mahindra and a former OSD to governor Dhanraj Yadav.
However, HT examined the cases in which FIRs were filed by the CBI and found that at least 17 other high-profile persons were made accused in these cases by the special task force (STF) of the MP police.
CBI spokesperson Kanchan Prasad confirmed that in most of these cases the bureau had merely taken over the FIRs filed by the STF. This makes it clear that the accused named by the STF are part of the CBI FIRs too.
The CBI has registered five fresh FIRs in the pre-medical tests conducted by Vyapam in 2009, 2010 and 2011 while the other 10 FIRs have been lodged in the cases that were already under the STF investigation.
The 17 accused related to these cases include mining baron and key racketeer Sudhir Sharma, racket kingpin Jagdish Sagar, former vice-chairman of Jan Abhiyan Parishad Ajay Shankar Mehta who is considered close to chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan, former member of the Backward Class Commission, Gulab Singh Kirar, also considered close to Chouhan, former deputy inspector general of police RK Shivhare and Rajendra Gurjar –- the then personal assistant to ex-transport minister.
The others are Bharat Mishra (brother of an IPS officer), Amit Pandey (husband of an IAS officer), director of Shri Govindram Seksaria Institute of Technology and Science (SGSITS), Indore and former controller of Vyapam Sudhir Singh Bhadoria, chairman of group of medical colleges Vinod Bhandari, his former general manager Pradeep Raghuvanshi, a politician and colleges group owner Sanjeev Saxena, former inspector general (stamps) Indrajeet Jain), former controller of DMAT Yogesh Uprit, Tarang Sharma (kin of IAS officer) and racketeer Deepak Yadav (kin of another IPS officer).
Also some other high- profile personalities, including Governor Ramnaresh Yadav (an FIR against him in the forest guard recruitment scam was quashed by the high court) and a mysterious character called ‘mantrani’ (lady minister/minister’s wife) are involved in the forest guard recruitment exam case of 2013, now taken over by the CBI.
“There are many accused in each of the cases and we are only giving out names that we thought might be of media interest,” Prasad said.