Scam with a Difference – Indian Currents, Editorial

Dr Suresh Mathew

The BJP has proved its capability to perpetuate a scam with a difference, thereby ‘justifying’ its claim to be a party with difference. Scams occur when fraudulent deals are struck and illegitimate favours are granted. But Vyapam scam which took place under the nose of the BJP government.

The BJP has proved its capability to perpetuate a scam with a difference, thereby ‘justifying’ its claim to be a party with difference. Scams occur when fraudulent deals are struck and illegitimate favours are granted. But Vyapam scam which took place under the nose of the BJP government in Madhya Pradesh, involving hundreds of crores of rupees, stands apart as it left a bloody trail of human deaths.        

Let us put the issue in perspective. The scam involves massive irregularities and corruption in the Madhya Pradesh Professional Examination Board or M.P. Vyavsayik Pareeksha Mandal, abbreviated in Hindi as Vyapam. It has been alleged that officials in connivance with politicians and middlemen took money to compromise examination process for professional courses like Engineering and Medical. The Board, which is also tasked with recruitment to several departments like police and education, rigged appointments to make a fast buck. The scam was going on reportedly since 2007 though it came to light only in 2013.

A sudden spurt in the death of those connected with the scam in the last few weeks has brought it to the national attention. Even humongous scams like 2 G and coal block allocation, which brought the UPA II government down, had not claimed the lives of the accused and witnesses as is happening in Vyapam case, making it the mother of all scams. The tentacles of Vyapam are so widespread that over 2000 people have been arrested in the case. There are still hundreds evading arrest. Many who got admission through dubious means are fleeing their colleges. A few of those who were recruited have died under mysterious circumstances.  

The death of over 40 persons linked to the scam either as accused or witnesses brings out the reach and ruthlessness of those who manoeuvre the system and manipulate people. The death of journalist Akshay Singh who was investigating the scam shows the deepening rot in the administration run by BJP which proclaims from roof-tops its ability to provide corruption-free government. Vyapam has nailed the lie of the saffron party’s claim of clean government and showed that the king has no clothes.

The behaviour of two constitutional authorities has left ordinary citizens and political analysts dumbfounded: the stubbornness of M.P. Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan in resisting a CBI probe into the case till he was forced to backtrack;   and Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s stoic silence despite clamour for his reaction getting shriller across the country and political spectrum. New evidences on the death of some of the accused and witnesses are emerging, strengthening the belief that they lost their lives under unnatural circumstances. With the Supreme Court entrusting the case to the CBI and keeping tabs on the progress of investigation, one hopes that the culprits will be brought to book. The Chief Justice of India’s assurance that ‘not one more will die’ in the case is a reassuring promise. Probably the nation will not have to witness yet another outrageous scam of this magnitude.   

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