news Thursday, July 09, 2015 - 05:30
By Chaitanya Mallapur for Indiaspend Madhya Pradesh’s embattled chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan may have finally agreed to a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) inquiry into what has come to be called the Vyapam scam, but with 6,562 corruption cases pending trial, justice through the overstretched agency is unlikely to be quick. The Vyapam case, when–and if–it is handed over to the CBI, must first be investigated. It will go to trial only after a chargesheet is filed and the investigation completed. The Supreme Court will also decide today, July 9, 2015, on petitions demanding a CBI inquiry. Chouhan was under pressure to accede to a CBI inquiry because as many as 35 people have died since an investigation began in 2013 into allegations of bribes paid, for medical-college admissions, to the Madhya Pradesh Vyavsayik Pareesksha Mandal (Madhya Pradesh Professional Examination Board), or Vyapam. With 2,500 people already named as accused and 1,900 in prison pending investigation monitored by the Madhya Pradesh High Court in the Vyapam scandal, a new inquiry is likely to challenge the CBI, already struggling to cope with a rising number of pending investigations and pending trials in CBI courts. Over the past four years, the CBI has brought down its case-load by no more than 9%, from 7,178 in 2011 to 6,562 in 2014, according to the latest government data available on March 31, 2014. Source: Lok Sabha Delhi tops the list with 765 corruption cases pending before the courts for trial. Maharashtra is next with 691 cases followed by West Bengal (646), Uttar Pradesh (596) and Tamil Nadu (474). Source: Lok Sabha Over the past four years, the CBI registered 2,220 cases under the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988. The agency completed investigation in 1,512 cases, while 708 cases are pending investigation. During 2013, the conviction rate for corruption cases tried in CBI courts was 69%, according to latest data available with the National Crime Records Bureau. Slow progress in high-profile cases The Vyapam inquiry is likely to be a high-profile probe, involving top government officials and ministers. Madhya Pradesh Governor Ram Naresh Yadav is also alleged to be involved. A petition has been filed against him before the Supreme Court seeking his removal, which will also be heard on July 9, 2015. One of the accused in the scam has also filed a police complaint against union minister Uma Bharati. Over the past four years, the CBI has registered a total of 45 cases against central government ministers, members of parliament and ex-ministers of state and central governments. While 25 cases are under trial, 12 cases are under investigation. Five cases have been closed by CBI. In one case, the agency has appealed against the order of the court, according to government data. Today, Supreme Court will also get into the act A Supreme Court bench, led by Chief Justice H L Dattu, will hear five petitions–including those filed by Congress leader Digvijaya Singh and Aam Aadmi Party leader Kumar Vishwas–seeking a CBI probe of Vyapam. Vyapam is a self-financed, autonomous body of the Madhya Pradesh state government, organising competitive entrance tests to professional courses. Its website says it is the only institute of its kind in India. More than 7 million candidates have appeared for the exams conducted by Vyapam over the past six years. Year Appeared No. of Tests/Exams 2009 3,22,197 16 2010 4,97,449 16 2011 6,02,273 23 2012 31,76,874 36 2013 17,76,578 27 2014 8,05,175 15 Source: Madhya Pradesh Professional Examination Board The first death related to the bribery scandal was reported in 2009, when a medical student accused of being a middleman by the police died of an illness and adverse drug reaction. About 500 people connected to the case are missing. Read the story on Indiaspend here  

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