Uncovering Vyapam: Does the buck really stop with the BJP and Chouhan?
news Monday, July 06, 2015 - 05:30
The Madhya Pradesh Professional Examination Board (MPPEB) scam, now infamous as the Vyapam scam, has brought Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan‚Äôs government under intense scrutiny. As news of the deaths of people related to the scam has been trickling in on a regular basis, the political blame game has started on who was responsible for the scam. While the Congress has demanded Chouhan's resignation, the BJP (especially on social media) has pinned the blame on previous Congress regimes, including the time when Digvijay Singh was the chief minister of the state between 1993 and 2003. The News Minute spoke to two whistle-blowers responsible for uncovering the scam, Dr Anand Rai and Ashish Chaturvedi. While both maintain that irregularities in the system have been in place as far back as the mid-90s, there is a reason why the BJP has given them more reasons to be dejected. The Vyapam scam pertains to manipulation in the selection process for government jobs conducted by MPPEB which came to light after a report by the Madhya Pradesh Local Fund Audit office for 2007-08 found alleged financial and administrative irregularities, including unauthorized disposal of application forms, worth crores of rupees by the MPPEB. The MPPEB has been responsible for conducting entrance exams for professional courses such as the pre-medical examinations for the state since 1982. Also Read: Why Shivraj Singh Chouhan was lying when he said kin of victims never suspected murder ‚ÄúThe first case alleging malpractice in an examination was filed way back in the year 2000 in Chhatarpur district,‚ÄĚ says Rai.¬† Seven cases were later registered in Khandwa district in 2004. ‚ÄúPeople were apprehended during this time, but no one looked at it as a case of ‚Äėorganised crime‚Äô back then,‚ÄĚ he adds. Rai says that the authorities initially looked at it as cases individual cases of cheating by the candidates. The first whiff of an organised scam came with the Madhya Pradesh Local Fund Audit's 2007-08¬†report.¬†Complaints of irregularities while conducting the examinations surfaced large scale in 2009, and the scam blew over in 2013 after the first arrests in July that year. ‚ÄúBoth the BJP and the Congress have a hand in the Vyapam scam. Individual cases can be found as back as 1995, though the first FIR we know is from 2000. But it was only by 2009/10 that the scam was uncovered as being this big, and organised. In spite of knowing this, the BJP took no action. This is why Shivraj Chouhan is more responsible for the mess," says Ashish Chaturvedi. Chaturvedi mentions that his association with the entire episode was as recent as 2010. Both Rai and Chatuvedi also say that it was after 2010 that names of high and mighty connected to the scam started getting exposed. Chouhan‚Äôs first term as Chief Minister in the state began in the year 2005. He was preceded by the BJP‚Äôs Babulal Gaur and Uma Bharti. Digvijay Singh of the Congress was the CM during the 10 years prior to Bharti between 1993 and 2003. Copies of the complaints in possession with TNM confirm that the complaints indeed date back to the said period. Here are copies of the court documents which list the cases in the scam. The first case registered was in Chhatarpur district in the year 2000. The last entry in the picture below mentions the date. Also Read: What is the Vyapam scam and who are implicated? An explainer