NewDelhi/Nagpur: The Supreme Court has transferred the investigation into the Vyapam scam in Madhya Pradesh to the CBI and asked the agency to probe the deaths linked to the scam.
There have been 36 deaths in the case so far, which the opposition Congress alleges indicates a massive cover-up.
The Supreme Court made a scathing observation on the Madhya Pradesh high court, which had on Wednesday deferred a petition for a CBI prove till July 20, saying it would wait for the top court ruling.
“Instead of deciding on a CBI probe, the Madhya Pradesh High Court washed its hands off (the case) and put the ball in our court,” the Supreme Court said.
After the high court decision, Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan said that he would request the Supreme Court that the investigation be handed over to the CBI.
Those who have died include witnesses and accused; the causes range from road accidents to suicides, alcohol poisoning and heart attacks.
At least one of the deaths was assessed by doctors to be a murder. Namrata Damor, one of the accused in the scam, was found dead in 2012 on railway tracks. She had been strangled, said an autopsy report, but the police said in their report that she had committed suicide.
Fresh questions have been raised over Ms Damor’s death after a journalist died suddenly last Saturday while interviewing her father. The dean of a medical college also died a day later, triggering calls for a CBI probe.
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. Vyapam is the Hindi acronym for the state board that conducts tests for medical and engineering colleges as well as government jobs.