The Riddle of Vyapam Scam
The Vyapam scam in Madhya Pradesh is gathering momentum–fast and furious–and there are reasons for this to happen. So far 36 people, related to the scam in one way or another, have died mysteriously. The recent instance is of a constable, who was to appear as a witness in the Vyapam scam, but he died. Fresh questions have been raised over constable’s death after a journalist died earlier. The dean of a medical college also died a day later, triggering calls for a probe by the Central Bureau of Investigation. Under pressure over the spate of deaths, Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan capitulated and asked for the inquiry to be reassigned to the CBI. Since Congress does not have any cogent issue to raise, it is screaming itself hoarse over the scam. But Shivraj Singh Chouhan is leaving no stone unturned to unearth the scam. Recently, he met the family of Akshay Singh, the journalist, and said that it is his mission in life to get to the bottom of this scam.
The scam, in the meantime, took another ominous turn in the state with the post-mortem report of MBBS student Namrata Damor, a suspect in the case, whose body was found beside railway tracks in Ujjain in 2012. The report maintains that it was a homicidal death caused by violent asphyxia. Nearly 2,000 people have been arrested since 2013 over the scandal in which thousands of people are alleged to have paid bribes in return for jobs on the state payroll or for places in educational institutes. It is noteworthy that Vyapam is the Hindi acronym for the state board that conducts tests for medical and engineering colleges as well as government jobs. Here it is worth mentioning that a key member of the High Court-appointed Special Investigation Team (SIT) recently said that all deaths related to the scam must be investigated to clear the air. However, Justice Chandresh Bhushan, chairman of the SIT, maintains that there is nothing mysterious about the deaths of several accused, witnesses and others related to the scam. The Vyapam scam shows the depth and breadth of corruption in the system. From individual corruption, we have moved to organised corruption. Now people are being killed for this. People have no confidence in the Police, so they asked for a CBI probe. As of now, the only institution that the people trust to some extent is the CBI and the judiciary.
This scam is not just about Madhya Pradesh. It is known at least that the scam is also about recruitment of SBI Probationary Officers. It is quite possible that the scam extends to various other central government’s recruitments such as Railways. Furthermore, the scam touches health and education system of Madhya Pradesh. Hence, it is the duty of the government, which came to power on the issues of sadak, bijli, pani and crusade against corruption, to deliver. It is to be noted that Madhya Pradesh has been the hotbed for laboratory of nationalism for the Sangh Parivar for decades. But the same Sangh, which launched chakka jam in Jaipur recently against the Vasundhara government’s act of desecrating thousands of temples in Jaipur in the name of development, is maintaining a studied silence in Madhya Pradesh. It cannot be gainsaid that moral values in the citizens of India are coming to end not because of westernisation but because of the nature of people who govern us. The governor holds such a responsible position that in case of a crisis he has to go by the Constitution and resolve the problem. But a person who is indulged in corruption only thinks about himself not about the nation. In this perspective, it is heartening to note that the Supreme Court has ruled that the CBI will probe the scam and one hopes that the skeletons would come tumbling out from the cupboard.