IANS

The special CBI court in Bhopal, which is dealing with Vyapam cases, has disposed of over 50 per cent of the cases, and in the latest development, it has initiated the process of framing charges in two major cases.

Special Public Prosecutor (SPP) Satish Dinkar, who is representing the CBI in the court, told IANS that the framing of charges in two big cases has begun, however, the hearing will speed up after two months. The process of charge framing has also begun in some other cases related to food inspector recruitment exams conducted by the Vyapam.

"These two cases have more than 1,300 accused and these cases were untouched so far, but now, the process of framing of charges has begun... We are hopeful that the process framing charges will be complete in the next two months and we can expect the daily hearings to speed up in these cases," Dinkar said.

Earlier, in December 2022, the Madhya Pradesh STF (Special Task Force) filed a fresh FIR, almost eight years after a complaint was filed by former Chief Minister Digvijaya Singh. Sources said the fresh FIR has triggered "unrest" within the ruling BJP and has also raised several eyebrows over its "sanction". However, the STF has said that it is just a routine action since they are investigating hundreds of complaints related to the Vyapam case that were not taken up by the CBI.

The case was registered on December 6, 2022, against Prashant Meshram, Ajay Tengar, Krishna Kumar Jaiswal, Anil Chouhan, Hari Kishan Jatav, Shiv Shankar Prasad, Amit Badole and Sulwant Singh Morya for allegedly clearing PMT 2008-2009 through impersonators.

It is worth mentioning that in July 2015, the Supreme Court transferred Vyapam investigations from the state STF to the CBI. The central agency registered 155 cases. Today, CBI has no Vyapam case pending for investigation, and hundreds of investigators, who were sent to Bhopal for the massive probe, have returned to their parent units.

Most of the cases are being heard in a special CBI court in Bhopal, and the single court is dealing with as many as 54 cases, including the 'engine-bogie' scam in the PMT exams in 2012 and 2013, which has a roster of more than 1,300 accused persons.

Though the irregularities in the Vyapam exams were noticed first in 2001, a strong nexus of corrupt bureaucrats, politicians of both the ruling and opposition parties, racketeers and middlemen kept executing their plans for over a decade, until the lid was blown off in 2013.

All the accused persons in the Vyapam cases, who were either arrested by Madhya Pradesh police or by the CBI and were charge-sheeted, are now out on bail. Most of them were granted interim bail by the Madhya Pradesh High Court, including nine who were granted conditional bail in March 2022.

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