Madhya Pradesh Vyavsayik Pareeksha Mandal (Vyapam) scam is a massive admission and recruitment scandal involving politicians, bureaucrats and middlemen. Several politicians including former education minister Laxmikant Sharma, a host of officials and scores of aspirants have been arrested in the case.
The Vyapam Scam involved the Madhya Pradesh Professional Examination Board, which holds exams for positions like medical officers, constables, teachers and auditors for government departments. Candidates allegedly bribed government officials to ensure that they made it to the list of those who cleared the test.
Thousands of candidates are also alleged to have secured admissions to medical colleges and other institutions and jobs through use of unfair means like impersonation.
The MPPEB scam was unearthed in July, 2013 by Indore Police after arresting "Munnabhais" (scorers), who appeared for original candidates in Pre-Medical Test (PMT) examination conducted by the Board. Later, the government handed over the case to STF for indepth investigations. During investigations, it also came to light that the scam involves other examinations including for recruitment of contractual teachers, patwaris and transport inspectors and others.
The STF, in supervision of the SIT, had filed a charge sheet against 28 persons in connection with the PMT scam allegedly involving MPPEB officials and racketeers in 2013. ED had registered a case in 2014 based on the STF FIR. The central probe agency has named former state Higher Education Minister Laxmikant Sharma and 27 others in its FIR. 539 people have been arrested and 218 are absconding in the scam.
Indore Bench of Madhya Pradesh High Court earlier served notices to MPPEB and Medical Council of India (MCI) following a public interest litigation (PIL) filed by parents of some students after reports that more than 300 ineligible candidates managed to get into the merit list.
Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan, in the state Assembly last year, had admitted that 1,000 out of the over 1.47 lakh appointments and selections made by MP MPPEB since 2007 were found to be fake.
Though Congress tried to corner the ruling BJP by targeting Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan in one of the biggest admission-cum-recruitment scams in India, the move so far has failed to pay any political dividend to the Opposition party even in the civic elections that were held after the scam was exposed in 2013.
Deaths of the accused:
Those accused in the case have been dying at an alarming rate. For example, reports said pharmacist Vijay Singh, a key accused concerning the unauthorised disposal of application forms for exams, was found dead in a lodge in Kanker district of Chhattisgarh. He was the eighth accused to have died in the scam. There were injury marks on his wrist and neck.
Recently, Madhya Pradesh Governor Ram Naresh Yadav's son, Shailesh, was also found dead under mysterious circumstances. Shailesh's name had cropped up in the multi-crore scam for allegedly fixing the recruitment of 10 candidates as Grade III teachers after an accused alleged he had accepted money for extending the favour. The accused's statement naming Shailesh as a recepient of bribe formed part of the annexure to the charge sheet. An FIR was then registered against Shailesh, who died soon after.
In his statement to the Special Task Force (STF) probing the Professional Examination Board (PEB) scam, Veerpal Yadav had alleged that he handed over a list of 10 candidates and Rs three lakh to his friend Vijay Pal, who gave the money and names allegedly to Shailesh at the Raj Bhawan in Bhopal.
"I fear for my life", said Prashant Pandey openly, who hogged headlines after becoming the whistleblower who exposed the scam.