The Supreme Court on Thursday granted bail to the jailed chairman of Sri Aurobindo Institute of Medical Sciences (SAIMS), Dr Vinod Bhandari, in connection with his alleged role in the MP Vyapam scam.
Dr Bhandari, who has been lodged in the Bhopal central jail for more than 20 months, is expected to come out either on Friday or Saturday after his lawyers will present the bail’s certified copy to the trial court, legal sources said.
He is the first major accused in the multi-layered scam to have got bail, even though the apex court had earlier granted bail to some students and parents associated with the scam, the sources said.
According to the sources, with Dr Bhandari getting bail, the chances of other accused in the case, such as Nitin Mohindra, Dr Jagdish Sagar, Sudhir Sharma, Pankaj Trivedi and Sanjeev Shilpkar, getting bail have also increased.
Before granting bail to Dr Bhandari, the Supreme Court enquired the CBI whether all necessary documents pertaining to the Vyapam scam involving Dr Bhandari had been filed in the court.
To this, the CBI replied that a charge-sheet in Dr Bhandari’s case had been filed in April 2014 itself by the STF.
Observing that under given circumstances keeping Bhandari in judicial custody served no purpose, the court granted him bail. His case was presented in the Supreme Court by advocates Yugandhara Jha and Kunal Verma.
Earlier, his bail plea had been rejected by the Madhya Pradesh high court’s double bench comprising Chief Justice A M Khanwilkar and Justice K K Trivedi considering STF’s argument that he could either influence Vyapam scam investigation or may run away from the country if granted bail.
Dr Bhandari was arrested in January 2014 for his alleged role in the multi-crore PMT-2012 scam. Before that he had fled to Mauritius citing some health issues after his name featured in the list of the accused.
He was charged with the violation of IT Act, cheating and criminal conspiracy. He allegedly played a major role in manipulating merit list of the medical pre-PG 2012 in connivance with Pankaj Trivedi and Nitin Mohindra of MPPEB.
More than 2,000 people have been arrested in connection with the scam. These include senior doctors, people in the Madhya Pradesh Professional Examination Board, students, teachers and parents.