What is the Vyapam Scam?
The Vyapam (Vyavsayik Pariksha Mandal) is the board that conducts professional examination in Madhya Pradesh, India. Vyapam Scam was all about the manipulation in the selection process for Government colleges and jobs from 2007-2013.
It involved politicians, business executives, senior and junior officials who systematically employed impersonation of candidates, rampant copying, blank answer sheets and fake marks.
It is registered as India’s biggest convicted felony that was spread out on a much larger racket. It consisted of 13 different exams conducted by Vyapam for the selection of medical students and state Government employees where the final results were tampered with.
Under the engine-bogie system, a solver – the ‘engine’ was placed between two ‘bogies’ or aspiring candidates, so both could copy from his answer sheet. The ‘engine-bogie’ modus operandi in the exam conducted the Vyapam. This was a result of the bribing and tampering with the seat arrangements.
Cases of irregularities were being reported since mid-1990s, but these cases weren’t a part of the investigation until 2009. This gave light to several unnatural deaths. That is when a committee was organized for investigation.
What did the investigation reveal?
In 2009, a report by the High Court-Appointed Special Investigation Team (SIT) probing the MPPEB (Madhya Pradesh Professional Examination Board) scam revealed 23 to 40 unnatural deaths. The 40 included accused, witnesses, and a journalist who was investigating the story. The investigation commenced on 7th July 2013 after a report was lodged on the basis of information by a civil rights activist, Dr. Anand Rai in association with Mr. Ashish Chaturvedi and Mr. Prashant Pandey.
They provided many leads and digital evidences that indicated connections of top most people of the State with the illicit business including the office of the Chief Minister of the State. In order to verify the truth of the excel sheet submitted by the whistle blower, a report was sought in March 2015 from the ‘Truth Lab’ in Bangalore.
The Lab submitted a voluminous report certifying:
- The original excel sheet was retrieved on 18th July 2013 at 04:20 PM.
- It was accessed again at 6:00 PM the same day.
- And at 08:15 PM (same day), it was modified and changed again.
In March 2015, the Special Task Force (STF) admitted to having arrested over 1800 accused at the Supreme Court. This was said to be the estimated 20% of the whole scam.
However, the Special Investigating Team (SIT) sought a report from the STF i.e. the suspected agency, on the veracity of the material submitted by the whistle blower. As expected, on 22nd April 2015 a report was submitted before the Jabalpur High Court.
To mislead the investigation, the material and the report submitted by the whistle blower was called FABRICATED AND FORGED. The entire exercise by the STF which is not a forensic lab was completed without seeking or calling for any assistance from the whistle blower or the Truth Lab, Bangalore – both of whom had offered their assistance.
After that, on 1st July 2015, the Apex Court reopened an on 9th July, and ordered listing of all Petitions and deaths regarding the Vyapam Scam. For 48 hours, the Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh and the Home Minister of India had outrightly refused to countenance any demand to hand over Vyapam Investigation to the CBI as they found nothing wrong or unfair with the report by the Special Task Force.
It is at this point when Mr. Vivek Tankha, Advocate General and Parliament Member decided it was time to step in. Being curious, he started looking into the feud, and made notes. Quoting this scam as “India’s biggest cover up story”, he took it all up to the Supreme Court. When the reports of 40 unprecedented deaths were dismissed as “totally baseless”, Mr. Tankha realised that the accused as well as the witnesses deserved justice.
Standing by his humanitarian behaviour, he has taken initiatives to investigate and get to the bottom of this huge racket. He wanted to fight for the thousands of students who are scared because of this malicious scam. With Mr. Tankha’s vigour and resourcefulness, he managed to bag two pen drives that consisted both, original and tampered files by Mahendra. (Reference link: http://www.indialegallive.com/commercial-news/states-news/madhya-pradesh-vyapam-scam-twist-tale-38799)
Refreshed charge-sheets have been submitted, accusing the former Education Minister, Laxmikant Sharma, four Vyapam officials and eight middlemen in the case by Special Task Force (STF). Madhya Pradesh High Court sentenced four-year imprisonment to four accused. They are, Deepak Jatav, Bhagirath, Dewan Jatav and Laxmi Narayan. (Reference link: http://www.asianage.com/india/all-india/010818/4-accused-in-vyapam-scam-get-4-year-jail.html)
Congress leader, Mr. Digvijay Singh’s statement was recorded by the local court after he deposed before the Judge for over two hours. He claims connection of Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister – Shivraj Singh Chouhan, Union Minister – Uma Bharti and five others in the Vyapam Scam. A file submitted by him, along with Mr. Vivek Tankha and former Union Minister Kapil Sibal highlights Chouhan’s name 48 times, confirmed by Mr. Sibal after the court appearance on 22nd September 2018.
He also claims involvement of the Special Task Force and CBI as they have been saving the accused in this case.
Mr. Vivek Tanka quotes, “With Singh’s private complaint, we are going to prove Chouhan’s involvement in the case.”
Mr. Tankha is still fighting for a positive verdict as he refuses to take any steps back. He postulates that such inhumane activities must be stopped for the nation to grow and thrive. Mr. Vivek Tankha is working vigorously against this spiteful malpractice and making sure that the citizens feel safe and protected.