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Tuesday, 7 July 2015

Vyapam Scam: Entire BJP leadership is standing solidly with me, say Shivraj Singh Chouhan

Till yesterday you were adamant that since the Special Task Force (STF) probing the Vyapam Scam was doing a good job, there was no need for handing over the probe to the CBI. What has changed in last 24 hours?
The STF has been doing a good job, the High Court-monitored SIT is also doing a good job. But, before that I wish to clarify that I was the one who ordered a thorough probe into the Vyapam issue. A small matter concerning irregularities in PMT admission test had come to light and preliminary probe pointed to a deeper malaise. I couldn’t sit back and not do anything since I had introduced a transparent system as the previous Congress governments had done nothing. I thought rather than hand over investigation to police, it should be given to the STF, which would have done it better.
Without going into too many details, I can say that the STF unearthed lot of irregularities after which some people went to High Court for a CBI probe. The HC refused the plea but ordered court monitoring of the investigation through SIT. Even the Supreme Court refused to order a CBI probe, pointing out that the STF was doing a good job. How could I have gone against the views of the High Court of the land?
The scale of investigation is unprecedented.
So why go to the CBI now?
In the last two days, an atmosphere of falsehood has been created that would have eventually affected the well-being of the state, which has emerged as the best performing state in the last one decade...I felt a wrong impression was being created about the state, a wrong perception, which would have been difficult to correct merely by saying that a fair investigation is being conducted.
We are in a democracy and in a democratic set up, perception matters a lot and the conduct of the ruler, who is actually the servant of the public, must be above any criticism or questions. This is necessary if he has to work with full authority. I don’t want to lose even a minute.
That is why I came to the conclusion that the questions that have cropped up require a CBI probe. That is why I have written to the HC today, requesting that the investigation be handed over to the CBI.
Do you think you were losing the battle of perception due to the large number of deaths in last few days?
I said yesterday also that it’s wrong to link every death to Vyapam. But once deaths started happening one after another, especially Akshay Singh (the Aaj Tak reporter who died last week while investigating the scam), a feeling gained ground that there was something suspicious in the deaths. I felt that all this needs to be cleared and only a CBI probe can clear it.
Why hasn’t the Centre come out in your support? Only Home Minister Rajnath Singh made a statement yesterday that CBI inquiry could only be ordered by the court.
I have the support and affection of the entire Central leadership. So far, there has been no statement because they knew that a thorough probe was on, something that had received the backing of the Supreme Court and the High Court. Our spokespersons, even in Delhi, have been putting across the party view with full force. Nothing more was required.

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