Vyapam scam: Under central pressure, Chouhan ready to CBI probe

New Delhi: The call came from the very top. Shivraj Singh Chouhan was forced to accept a CBI probe into the Vyapam recruitment scam by the BJP’s central leadership.

MP CM Shivraj Singh Chauhan has been forced to accept a CBI probe in Vyapam scam.
MP CM Shivraj Singh Chauhan has been forced to accept a CBI probe in Vyapam scam.
The Madhya Pradesh chief minister was told in no uncertain terms that it was extremely difficult to shield him any more as a raging controversy has broken out over the inexplicable chain of deaths that are being linked to the scam.

Chouhan, who had not succumbed to the pressure for a central investigation so far, finally relented. He accepted the orders from the top leadership, which included party president Amit Shah and Rajnath Singh, who drove home the point that the Opposition cannot be given more ammunition ahead of the Monsoon session.

BJP sources said the senior leadership was of the view that the decision will give the saffron party an opportunity to fight back.

“The senior leadership was in constant touch with the MP chief minister. Party chief Amit Shah has been keeping a close watch over the developments. He also spoke to state in-charge Vinay Sahasrabuddhe over the issue. Ahead of the monsoon session, the party does not want to empower the opposition,” said an insider.


Moreover, the party also believes that the Vyapam case, where suspicious deaths continue to be reported, is different from the controversies plaguing Sushma Swaraj and Vasundhara Raje.

“There was no issue of criminal impropriety with these two leaders and that was the reason the party defended them on technical and legal grounds. But, in the Vyapam case, the party brass had to tell Chouhan to announce the decision seeking CBI investigation,” said a party leader.

Another reason for going for a CBI probe was a possible Supreme Court intervention in the case.
The apex court on July 9 will hear the plea of Congress leader Digvijaya Singh and three whistleblowers seeking an apex court-monitored CBI probe. If the court issues such a direction, the Congress will score a major political point.

Chouhan wanted to avoid any harsh comments from the apex court which would further weaken his position.


Following the announcement in Bhopal, the BJP went on an offensive in Delhi accusing the Congress of practising politics of death and said only the judiciary can take a final decision on the nature of investigation. Welcoming Chouhan’s announcement that he would urge the state high court to order a CBI probe, the BJP claimed that a thorough investigation will expose and corner the Congress.

“The BJP was absolutely clear in its intention that we wanted probity of the highest order. We wanted probe by the highest body and this was articulated by none other than Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and Home Minister Rajnath Singh. Shivraj Singh Chouhan has also said so,” BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra said.

Two days back, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley had said: “Since various issues are being raised with regard to the circumstances of his (TV journalist Akshay Singh) death, it would be important that a fair inquiry is held so that all doubts are put to rest.”

Earlier on Tuesday, taking a U turn, the Madhya Pradesh CM said he will request the high court to order a CBI probe into the multi-layered Vyapam scam.

“Loktantra lok lajja se chalta hai (public perception is important in democracy). Honouring public sentiments, I will request the high court for a CBI probe,” Chouhan told mediapersons.
He added: “The functioning of the government should be beyond any doubt.”

Till Monday, Chouhan was reluctant to go for a CBI inquiry. But, in the last 48 hours, he was feeling rather uneasy after several mysterious deaths related to Vyapam scam were reported.

After the announcement, the Congress said only a Supreme Court-monitored CBI probe could ensure a fair investigation.

“The latest decision of Shivraj to write to the high court for a CBI probe is yet another attempt to muzzle the truth. The Congress rejects it. For a fair probe and justice to the victims, a Supreme Court-monitored CBI probe is the answer,” the party’s communication department chief Randeep Surjewala said.

Countering this, BJP secretary and its media cell in-charge Shrikant Sharma attacked the Congress, saying: “The opposition party is not sincere and only interested in playing politics of death. A thorough probe will expose and corner the Congress.”

Inputs with Mail Today