A CBI team reached Bhopal on Monday to take over the Vyapam scam probe from the state’s special task force (STF) and reviewed the status of cases linked to the massive rigging of job and college admission tests.
The team met officers of the STF, which has been investigating the multi-core scam for almost two years under special investigation team’s (SIT) supervision, to take stock of the progress made in the investigation.
“It was tough for the past one year and 11 months. Every day we would be busy from morning till night, and there was tremendous pressure. Now our headache goes to the CBI,” said an STF officer at his office, which for once looked relaxed.
The CBI took over the probe after the Supreme Court last week transferred to the central agency all cases related to the multi-crore scandal in the Madhya Pradesh Professional Examination Board (PEB), popularly known by its Hindi acronym Vyapam, where some of the suspects are powerful politicians, bureaucrats and businessmen.
Watch: The A to Z of the Vyapam scam
The scam, which has bruised the BJP government’s reputation in Madhya Pradesh, has witnessed a spate of deaths of whistleblowers, witnesses, accused and beneficiaries.
CBI sources said the officers would initially gather information from the STF and examine loopholes in the probe. People with suspected links to the scam who have yet to be questioned, an issue raised by whistleblowers, would be quizzed later.
The initial challenge would be to decide on the process for transferring the cases from the state authorities to the central agency. The transfer process involves tonnes of documents, mostly related to 55 cases registered by the STF. But the question remained about the status of 28 cases in which the STF has completed its probe and the cases were being heard in court.
Besides, the CBI would examine files in the computer of Nitin Mahindra, the main accused and former principal systems analyst with the PEB. Whistleblowers suspected that data recovered from the computer was tampered with.
The 211-member STF, aided by hundreds of police personnel, started probing the scam after Indore Police found multiple rackets while investigating complaints of imposters in the pre-medical test conducted by the PEB. Over 2,000 people linked to the scam are now in jail, including a former minister.