The Congress and other opposition parties on Monday mounted pressure on Prime Minister Narendra Modi to sack Madhya Pradesh chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan following a series of deaths in the state recruitment board, or Vyapam, scandal.
The opposition said Prime Minister Modi should break his silence on the chief minister, heading a BJP government for the third term, because “he was responsible for 45 deaths” so far in the Vyapam scam.
“Shivraj Singh Chouhan should be sacked and an impartial probe ordered,” Congress spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said, following the apparent suicide of a trainee sub-inspector who entered the police force through an exam conducted by the Madhya Pradesh Professional Examination Board (MPPEB), or Vyapam in Hindi.
The Congress upped its offensive against the Chouhan after a spate of mysterious deaths of witnesses, whistle-blowers and accused in the scandal, a massive admission and recruitment racket allegedly involving several bureaucrats and politicians.
“How can a mammoth crime of the magnitude of Vyapam wherein future of 76 lakh was blocked, naked corruption took place and naked bribery was taking place. Scorers were being appointed, papers were being changed. How could such a mammoth corruption scam be carried on without complicity and knowledge of Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan?” Surjewala asked.
The Congress found fresh ammunition when the Supreme Court on Monday agreed to hear a petition against Madhya Pradesh governor Ram Naresh Yadav to ensure a fair inquiry in the Vyapam Scam. The matter is scheduled to be heard on July 9.
More than 40 people associated with the admission and recruitment racket have died since 2013 — either in mysterious circumstances or have committed suicides. The governor’s 50-year-old son, Shailesh Yadav, was found dead at his father’s residence in Lucknow on March 25.
The death of a trainee sub-inspector on Monday follows the deaths of TV journalist Akshay Singh and Arun Sharma, the 64-year-old dean of a medical college in Jabalpur.
Video: Madhya Pradesh CM says every death should not be linked to Vyapam scam
Former Union home minister P Chidambaram insisted that the Madhya Pradesh government recommend a CBI investigation before the “next unnatural death”.
“Lessons of #Vyapam : 1) Court monitoring does not guarantee independent investigation. Buck stops with the Executive. MP Government must order CBI investigation before the next unnatural death,” he said on Twitter.
Congress spokesperson PC Chacko said the Chief Minister cannot be spared and should take responsibility along with the Prime Minister.
“The CM should ask for a CBI probe into the matter if he thinks he is clean. The Prime Minister should explain and take moral responsibility for what is happening in the country,” he said.
Congress general secretary Digvijaya Singh alleged that the death of a trainee sub-inspector was linked to the scam. “Training Cop recruited through Vyapam commits suicide in Sagar Police Academy MP. 46th or 47th (sic)?” he tweeted.
Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal, too, joined the chorus in demanding an answer from Prime Minister Modi, who has maintained a studied silence on the scam. “People want prime minister to speak and intervene in Vyapam. PM should no more remain silent,” he tweeted.