New Delhi: The Supreme Court ordered the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Monday to file within six weeks its forensic report regarding electronic evidence in connection with the Vyapam scam.
The CBI is investigating the multi-crore admission and recruitment scam involving politicians, senior officials and businessmen in Madhya Pradesh. It was first probed by the state crime branch and then the STF in 2013.
A bench headed by justice Ranjan Gogoi said further orders on the aspect of monitoring of the probe done by the CBI will be given once the forensic report is submitted in a sealed cover. The court was hearing petitions that led the top court to order a CBI probe.
Solicitor general Ranjit Kumar, appearing for CBI, handed over the status of the probe in the scam, and told the bench the agency had filed final investigation reports against 80 accused. One case has ended in a closure, while 13 preliminary enquiries have also been closed.
Kumar said the probe agency has requested the CFSL, which is examining the pen drive of the whistleblower and a hard disk, to expedite the process and submit the report. The solicitor claimed telecom providers were not cooperating with the probe. He said CFSL at Hyderabad cannot complete its probe in two months.
Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi, appearing for the Madhya Pradesh government, said nothing survived in the petitions because the CBI was already conducting its probe.
Senior advocate Kapil Sibal, appearing for Congress leader Digvijaya Singh, said the SC should call for the CFLS report and issue appropriate orders. He said the pen drive was given to the high court but it has not been looked into and nothing has been done for years.
Sibal alleged even the CBI had not looked into the pen drive because it was lying with the CFSL for examination.
The whistleblower, Prashant Pandey, had handed over a pen drive to CBI alleging that the excel-sheet seized from the MP Professional Examination Board (MPPEB) commonly known as Vyapam had the mention of some high-profile people against some candidates who wrote the examinations.
Digvijaya had alleged that evidence had been manipulated to protect chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan and his close associates.
The crime branch had seized a hard disk from the computer of former principal systems analyst Nitin Mahindra at Vyapam headquarters arrested in 2013.
However, Pandey had made a copy of the disk then as he apprehended a foul play after Mahindra’s arrest in 2013.
Pandey said he handed over a pen drive to the CBI containing a copy of the content on the original hard disk and had duly apprised the agency of how the evidence had been destroyed while in custody.
The disk contains an excel sheet which carries names of high-profile persons with amounts they paid to get their favourites selected in various recruitment examinations.
Pandey said the disk he submitted was untempered and was verified by Bengaluru-based Truth labs. However, he said the original hard disk had been tampered with and the names of some high-profile persons removed.
What they say
Appearing for CBI, solicitor general Ranjit Kumar told the bench the probe agency has requested the CFSL to expedite the examining electronic device and submit the report
Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi, appearing for the Madhya Pradesh government, said nothing survived in the petitions because the CBI was already conducting its probe
Senior advocate Kapil Sibal, appearing for Congress leader Digvijaya Singh, said the SC should call for the CFLS report and issue appropriate orders
Wistleblower Prashant Pandey said the hard disk — containing an excel sheet which carries names of high-profile persons with amounts they paid to get their favourites selected in various recruitment examinations — had been tampered with