The CBI registered its first cases in the Vyapam scandal on Wednesday, focussing on a clutch of medical examinations held between 2009 and 2011 that an allegedly compromised state-level probe did not investigate.
Two days after taking up the Vyapam scam probe, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) filed five cases, indicating that it was ready to dig deep and surpass the limitations of the investigation by a high court-monitored STF.
The cases registered by the CBI were in connection with the three main examinations that were allegedly rigged -- pre-medical test (PMT) in 2010, PMT in 2009 and pre-PG (medical) entrance in 2011.
The special task force (STF) that had been probing the Vyapam scam for almost two years never looked into the alleged irregularities in these examinations and kept its probe restricted to the PMTs in 2012 and 2013, the pre-PG (medical) examination in 2012 as well as other recruitment examinations in 2012 and 2013.
HT has repeatedly reported about the STF not focussing on entrance exams and recruitment tests held before 2012, ignoring a key aspect of the high-profile scandal involving politicians, bureaucrats and racketeers.
However, it is now clear the rigging was going on for years, and the arrested accused admitted to being involved in the scandal from much before 2012-13.
"From 2008 to 2011, dozens of recruitment tests and entrance exams were rigged but were never probed", said whistleblower Paras Saklecha, a former MLA from Ratlam.
Saklecha said that even the former controller of examination of the professional examination board (PEB) -- also termed Vyapam -- were not quizzed.
The education department, meanwhile, has taken action against hundreds of students who had got admission in medical colleges of the state by unfair means in the period between 2008 and 2013.
"The scam was on; from as early as 2004. However, it functioned as an organised crime racket after 2006, and thus probe is needed for the period before 2012-13," said an STF official on conditions of anonymity.
At the helm of the probe following the Supreme Court's directive, the CBI has now set up its base in a government bungalow at Professor's Colony in Bhopal. As long as the Vyapam scam probe continues, this place will serve as the CBI's office, a hub of busy activities that will make shaky the kingpins who are still at large.
Sources said that more FIRs could be registered in the coming days, and cases would be registered against high-profile suspects who were not booked by STF.