Bhopal/New Delhi: Buckling under all round pressure, Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan today made a U-turn and decided to seek an investigation into the murky Vyapam scam by the central agency on a day the Supreme Court agreed to hear petitions in this regard.
Following Chouhan's announcement at a press conference, the state government moved the Madhya Pradesh High Court seeking its direction for institution of a CBI probe into the massive admission and recruitment scam.
As the Chief Minister, who had been resisting pressure for a CBI inquiry, made the surprise announcement in the scam that is said to have claimed 45 lives, there was a scare about the health of one of the accused, who is currently in jail after he had developed illness. However, O P Shukla, OSD to former minister Laxmikant Sharma, one of the main accused in the case, who is also in jail, was discharged after doctors found he did not need hospitalisation.
Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan. File pic
Shukla is suffering from muscular dystrophy, high blood pressure and diabetes, Superintendent M R Patel of Central Jail, Bhopal, told PTI. Under intense opposition attack and mounting public outrage over a string of deaths of people associated with Vyapam, a beleagured Chouhan, a third time chief minister, announced his decision to recommend to the high court a CBI inquiry.
"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 said, adding "the functioning of the government should be beyond any doubt."
"I have full respect for both High Court and the Supreme Court and have total faith in the ongoing probe into the Vyapam scam," he told a hurriedly convened press conference in Bhopal.
Shortly later, Additional Advocate General P Kaurav said the state government has filed a request for a CBI probe in the scam. The Madhya Pradesh High Court may take up the plea for hearing tomorrow.
In a related development, the Supreme Court today agreed to hear on July 9 the plea of Congress leader Digvijay Singh and three whistleblowers seeking an apex court-monitored CBI probe into the scam.
Singh, a former MP chief minister, and whistleblowers -- Ashish Chaturvedi, Anand Rai and Prashant Pandey -- have also moved the apex court seeking a CBI probe under its
Chouhan's change of mind came a day after Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh ruled out a CBI probe in the absence of a direction from the court.
Congress dismissed the move and insisted merely an investigation by the premier agency would not suffice and that it should be monitored by the Supreme Court.