Amid an impending, court-ordered CBI probe into Madhya Pradesh's multi-crore test-rigging scandal, Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chauhan has said he is the original whistle-blower in the Vyapam case, according to reports.
"I initiated the CBI probe into the Vyapam scam. I am the original whistle-blower in the case," CNN-IBN quoted Chouhan as saying. Although his track record on the issue suggested a completely different picture.
The Chief Minister was asked about the Vyapam scam on the floor of the House about 50 times and his response to the case has been evasive, reported CNN-IBN. For example, on March 31, 2011, Chouhan was asked in the Assembly about the number of fake admissions detected between 2007 and 2010 to which he responded "there's none so far".
The Opposition again questioned him on the issue on November 29, 2011, and this time the chief minister said: "114 such students have been identified as having obtained wrongful admission and the matter was being investigated", NDTV reported.
Repeated requests for information on the exam process from 2007 to 2011 led to evasive answers by the state government, claimed NDTV. Between July 2011 and June 2013, Chouhan had received 17 letters about the possibility of a scam in medical college admissions. Medical colleges concluded investigations and only included students in their probe, the NDTV report said.
Pressure on the Madhya Pradesh government has mounted in the past few weeks over several mysterious deaths linked to a massive scam to manipulate the results of entrance examinations for government jobs and medical colleges. Vyapam is the Hindi name of the state's professional examination board. Chouhan, who initially held out against a CBI probe in the multi-crore scandal, finally gave in yesterday after massive public outcry.
The Supreme Court decided to transfer the investigations to the Central Bureau of Investigation.
The apex court also issued a notice to the Centre, the Madhya Pradesh Government and the Governor on a plea seeking his removal over his alleged involvement in the scandal.
Although the Congress has accused Chouhan's government of a massive cover-up, he has found strong backing in Union minister Uma Bharti who said there was no reason for him to resign and that he was running the government better than her.
"Shivrajji is not involved in corruption. Why should he resign? I am fully with Shivrajji and will rather say that he is running the state government better than me. He has more patience than me," she told Rajat Sharma in 'Aap ki Adalat' on India TV, according to a release from the channel.