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Guilty in Vyapam Scam Will Not Be Spared: Shivraj Singh Chouhan

None of the guilty in the Vyapam scam will be spared, Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan today said even as he rejected Congress’s demand for his resignation over the matter.

“I am the first person who ordered registration of an FIR in 2013 after noticing irregularities in Vyapam. Seeing the complicated nature of the case, we formed the Special Task Force (STF) to probe it. It is working under the High Court- appointed Special Investigation Team (SIT).

“In my response in the Assembly two years back, I had admitted there were irregularities in a few hundred out of the lakhs of recruitment done by Vyapam. That is being probed. We will not leave anybody who is guilty. No matter how big he is,” he told PTI in an email interview.

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Stating that among those in custody for their involvement in Vyapam scam are some politicians, political workers and bureaucrats big and small, he insisted “it proves that we are not trying to hide it (scam)”. “In fact, we are getting a transparent probe done,” he said while ruling out his resignation over the issue.

“It was I who got the Vyapam probe initiated. Nobody else had demanded it. I only transferred the probe to STF. So, where is the question of me tendering my resignation. “STF conducted a transparent probe under SIT’s supervision.

Now, CBI is probing it. We and all the countrymen have full faith in CBI and the judiciary,” said Mr Chouhan. To a question about the deaths of 47 people reportedly connected with the Vyapam, he said any demise was painful to him even as he accused Congress of exaggerating the number.

“Any death is a matter of pain to me. I am sad that Congress, instead of sympathising with the families of those who died, is playing politics and exaggerating the number of deaths.

“I am not going into the number of deaths. But I believe that there have been untimely deaths of some people associated with Vyapam. Other than that, all those deaths being linked to the Vyapam scam is bad politics aimed at scuttling the probe,” Mr Chouhan said.

The working of the Parliament in the current Monsoon session has been held up due to disruptions caused by the opposition parties’ protests over the Vyapam scam and ‘Lalitgate’.

Huge irregularities in recruitments for various government jobs by Madhya Pradesh Professional Examination Board, or Vyapam, are being probed by CBI following a Supreme Court direction in this regard.

The Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister also said he has shared with Prime Minister Narendra Modi the “facts and truth” of the case. “The Prime Minister is an experienced politician and an aware administrator. I have informed him about the truth and facts of the Vyapam case,” Mr Chouhan said.

The Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister, meanwhile, rejected reports which claim that Union Minister Uma Bharati and others were being allegedly framed in the scam. “She is a central minister and has also been the chief minister of Madhya Pradesh.

She has never said she is being framed in the issue,” he said, adding, “what has come to my notice is that she said she would talk to me in-depth about the probe into the scam”.

He further said that the Vyapam is not only a corruption issue but involves aspects like misuse of technology, improper monitoring of the examination and its pattern.

Mr Chouhan also said that the scam has dented the image of his state.

“I am concerned that boys and girls from Madhya Pradesh are being associated with Vyapam when they go out of the state. “The present generation will never forgive Congress for destroying the image of the state by giving so much negative publicity to it in such a big way,” he said.

Asked whether there was a delay in the CBI probe, Mr Chouhan said both Supreme Court and high court had rejected pleas seeking an investigation by the central agency.

“How could the MP government have gone for a CBI probe after the SC and HC decisions. Would we not have been in contempt if we had not trusted them?” he asked. Mr Chouhan said people should wait for the outcome of the CBI probe before arriving at any conclusion.