Vyapam scam: CBI charge sheet names 490, CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan gets clean chit

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Vyapam scam: CBI charge sheet names 490, CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan gets clean chit
Vyapam scam: CBI charge sheet names 490, CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan gets clean chit

Bhopal : The CBI on Tuesday filed a charge sheet against 490 persons in the multi-crore Vyapam examination scam that broke out in Madhya Pradesh in 2013, while giving a clean chit to Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan.

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), while submitting the charge sheet in the Special Court in Bhopal, told the judge that there was no tampering with a hard disk drive seized by the Madhya Pradesh Police in the case, dismissing an allegation by senior Congress leader and former Chief Minister Digvijaya Singh on this count.

"We conducted investigation on allegations by Digvijay Singh and another person on tampering with the hard disk drive seized from a computer of the then Principal System Analyst of Vyapam on July 18, 2013. Based on CFSL (Central Forensic Science Laboratory) reports and other evidence gathered, the CBI has concluded that there is no tampering in the said drive," the CBI charge sheet said. 

"We had submitted a status report on the findings of investigation into alleged tampering with the hard disk to the Supreme Court." 

Those named in the CBI charge sheet include three Vyapam officials, three racketeers, 17 middlemen, 297 paper solvers and beneficiary candidates and 170 guardians of beneficiary candidates.

Most accused were operating from state capital Bhopal, Indore, Ujjain, Shahdol, Ratlam, and Sagar in Madhya Pradesh. The charge sheet against another 12 accused will be filed in juvenile courts concerned. 

The scam in Vyavsayik Pariksha Mandal (Vyapam) or Madhya Pradesh Professional Examination Board broke out in 2013, wherein candidates bribed officials, rigged exams by deploying imposters to write their answersheets. 

The CBI took over investigation following the Supreme Court order on July 9, 2015. The charge sheet was connected to the Pre-Medical Test of 2013 -- one of several cases of irregularities in examinations conducted by Vyapam.

CBI investigators said the organised rackets employed students from across the country to allegedly impersonate medical students and appear in recruitment exams since 2008. Middlemen manipulated seating arrangements and forged answersheets in exchange of lakhs of rupees. 

The arrest of 20 people in Indore blew the lid off the massive scam, which quickly snowballed into the biggest political crisis for Chouhan and led to more than 2,000 arrests, including those of politicians, bureaucrats, and middlemen.

Over 40 persons, including witnesses, accused, and alleged beneficiaries, died in mysterious circumstances ever since the scam broke out. These included a son of the then Governor. Some died in freak accidents or of mysterious illnesses. 

Opposition Congress has repeatedly blamed the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) for the deaths, which it alleged is a cover-up for the racket. Chouhan and the BJP deny the charge.

The charge sheet said the racketeers managed to get roll numbers in such a manner that a beneficiary candidate was seated right behind his solver candidate to facilitate cheating. 

CBI investigations revealed that these solver candidates were among medical college students or bright medical college aspirants taking coaching in Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Delhi, Rajasthan, and Maharashtra. 

"The CBI collected pertinent details of students of various medical colleges and coaching institutes spread all over these states and prepared a data base of more than 10 lakh such students. 

"With the help of advanced forensic software and said data base, the CBI was able to identify and trace 42 accused solver candidates. Using other innovative methods, the CBI was able to trace 11 middlemen and made them join investigation," the charge sheet added.