In Vyapam, the Central Bureau of Investigation faces a daunting task of unravelling a corruption scandal that went on for years, leaving a trail of thousands of suspects – including some top elected representatives – with hordes of tell-tale evidence requiring thorough scrutiny.
The agency’s most crucial task, however, will be in prevailing over power dynamics and chasing links that may have potentially influenced investigations carried out by the state police and the special task force (STF)."Politicians and influential bureaucrats linked to scam were not called for recording their statements, let alone booked or interrogated. While state police officials dithered to act, CBI officials are expected to question everybody and unravel the entire conspiracy", said a retired IPS officer, preferring not to be identified.
Watch:The A to Z of the Vyapam scam
“Scientific investigation wasn’t undertaken by the STF. Now, if CBI may go for lie-detector test on PEB officials, it can get vital clues about high-profile people who protected the racket for so long. Investigation on the basis of the results of such tests could reveal a lot”, he adds.
Whistleblower Paras Saklecha said STF’s investigation began from the lower wrung, instead of acting against the kingpins first. “As many as 90% people arrested comprised students and their parents, while just half-a-dozen PEB officials were arrested. We are hopeful that CBI would start arrests from the top”.
Saklecha said that CBI is expected to quiz top bosses of PEB, medical education department and high-profile people who have never been quizzed or arrested before.
A forensic expert said scrutiny of evidence and interrogations for a case of such scale would be the other big challenge, but the agency has the technical expertise to see it through. “CBI can better investigate the cyber-forensic evidence such as the files obtained from the hard disk of former principal systems analyst of PEB Nitin Mahindra”, he said, wishing to remain anonymous.
"Also, in cases like Namrata Damor's death or other suspicious deaths, the CBI will look at them individually and hopefully connect the dots", he added.Opposition had consistently been demanding CBI probe, alleging that the STF investigation was a possible cover up.