Denying any major differences with the Special Task Force (STF) over the mode of investigation into the MPPEB scam, Special Investigation Team (SIT) chairman Justice Chandresh Bhushan said the delay in the closure of the investigation was their biggest concern.
Meanwhile, the STF on Friday appraised the Madhya Pradesh high court about a 17-point action plan to arrest the remaining 500 scam accused, who have been absconding. The action plan has already been endorsed by the SIT.
The SIT was constituted by the Madhya Pradesh high court to assist it in monitoring the STF’s investigation into the PEB scam.
The scam relates to the alleged irregularities in the PEB’s admission and recruitment for various courses and government jobs in the state.
In an exclusive interaction with this HT correspondent, Justice Chandresh Bhushan said the SIT’s biggest concern was the arrest of the remaining accused and the early closure of the investigation so that the accused, some of who are in jail for a while now, could exercise their legal rights.
“If he (referring to film actor Salman Khan) can get bail in just four hours after being convicted and sentenced by a sessions court, many of the PEB scam accused have not even been charge-sheeted and have been in jail for months! They also have their legal rights and should also get a chance to exercise it.”
He said: “In its last report, the STF said it still had to arrest the remaining 500 accused. It’s not that we don’t endorse their line of investigation, but we keep yoking them so that all the absconders are detained and the investigation ends soon,” he said.
He said: “What happens to the 1800 accused, who are behind the bars in connection with the scam? If they are held guilty and sentenced, then it’s a different issue. But they can’t be kept in custody without trial for an indefinite period.”
On the SIT’s reported difference with the STF over the filing of a first information report against some VIPs, including a former chief minister, wife of a minister and a retired IAS officer, he said: “There is no question of differences. By the court’s mandate itself, the STF is bound to follow our directive.”
When asked if FIRs would be registered against the VIPs in question, he said: “Ask me this question when the charge-sheet is presented and their name does not appear in it or when their name figures in it. In both situations, I will explain why it was done.”