The Vyavasaik Pariksha Mandal, popularly known as the Vyapam in Madhya Pradesh, is a self financed autonomous institution that conducts various recruitment exams for jobs, medical courses, engineering and other professional courses.
The institution had been tainted with the rigging of exams being conducted for entry into the medical courses and various other jobs under the state government. This scam was unearthed by a journalist of a local hindi newspaper in Devas district. This revelation was not the first occasion when irregularities had come to light. In 2005, 2009, and 2011, there were several reports lodged with various police stations across the state to look into the matter of faulty merit list and scrutiny results declared by Vyapam. This mater was probed and there was no evidence traced to an organised cartel running the fair.
The state machinery was not set into motion despite repeated reports in the media alleging irregularities and the complaints. A committee though was set up in 2009 to look into the alleged irregularities in the medical exams, the outcome of the inquiry came in the year 2011, where it was revealed that there were several ‘Munna Bhais’ and impersonation was routine.
It was the first time the government was also told that there may be some officials involved in the scam. The government responded by assuring students who were proved to have been using fraudulent means to be rusticated from the respective courses. Yet this just remained the tip of the iceberg.
In 2013 when a racket of over 50 people being involved in the PMT exam that year was unearthed by the MP STF, there came information about the following recruitment exams being rigged as well; which were Pre-PG, Food Inspector Selection Test, Milk Federation test, Subedar-Sub Inspector and Platoon Commander Selection Test and Police Constable Recruitment Test, in the year 2012.
The Vyapam scam further was given another cool off when the state government handed over a thorough investigation into the scam to the STF. The STF and the media utilised the cool off and no report was made until in 2015 a journalist was found murdered who had credible information about the Vyapam scam.
The Vyapam scam further saw deaths of government officials and police inspectors also. There has not yet been any solid action on the part of the authorities. Today, the case is being dealt over by the CBI, yet the proceedings are going at a snail’s speed.
Further the ex-Minister for Education with the Government of MP, Laxmikant Sharma was the key man who resigned following incrimination charges. The minister was the top most officer of the government in-charge for the Vyapam, and he disclosed names of several other officers.
The blame games have continued and the whole incident has put the reign of Shivraj Singh Chouhan in MP in deep waters. Shivraj Singh on his part as not taken any moral responsibility and has claimed that he is not involved in the high-profile scam, yet the number of deaths that ensued in the aftermath of the disclosure and threats to whistleblowers that came to light indicate a different picture.
The case needs to be independently monitored by an opposition led fact-finding committee of the MP Vidhan Sabha, and must have on board investigative journalists to ensure transparency. The CBI must put the issue at its priority and give results as the time is running by, lest there will be another incident of justice delayed-justice denied.