CBI lets Shivraj Singh Chouhan off Vyapam hook, heat now on Digvijaya
In a major relief to Madhya Pradesh chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan, the CBI concluded that the hard disk recovered from the office of the Madhya Pradesh Professional Examination Board, or Vyapam, had not been tampered to allegedly “delete” references to the word “CM”.
The alleged tampering was the basis on which Congress member Digvijaya Singh levelled allegations of irregularities against Chouhan, but the CBI has, in its chargesheet filed in a special court, dismissed the claim. Singh could face prosecution for fabricated documents in keeping with the CBI’s submissions to the SC earlier this year.
“The computer from which the hard disk was seized was last shut down on July 15, 2013, three days before Indore police searches. Nobody accessed any files on that computer after July 15,” said the CBI.
The CBI was veering around to the view that there was “no political conspiracy” or “organised syndicate” behind Vyapam cases and the alleged mysterious deaths of key figures associated with the scam and its investigation. The CBI said most cases were individual irregularities.
The CBI’s chargesheet said a detailed forensic analysis of the hard disk showed there was no file on “CM”. On the contrary, the agency found that false documents and digital records were used to level allegations against Chouhan.
Digvijaya and Vyapam whistle-blower Prashant Pandey had approached the Supreme Court alleging that the hard disk recovered from the computer of Vyapam accused Nitin Mohindra on July 18, 2013, was “tampered with” and the word “CM” (referring to Shivraj Singh Chouhan) deleted at 48 places.
Singh and Pandey had also separately claimed to be in possession of a pen drive having telephone numbers of Chouhan and his wife, and that they exchanged messages with some of the accused in Vyapam scam. The agency concluded that the content on the pen drive(s) was improvised or tampered with.
“Two pen drives, one kept in custody of the Delhi HC on the petition of Pandey, and the other submitted by him to the CBI in a sealed cover were sent to CFSL, Hyderabad, for analysis.
The pen drives as per the claims of Pandey contained the tampered and untampered versions of the impugned excel file,” said the CBI. “All the five excel sheets… submitted by Prashant Pandey to level allegations against Chouhan were created after July 18, 2013,” said the CBI. Earlier this year, the CBI informed the SC that Digvijaya would soon face action for using fabricated documents and digital records to run a high-pitched campaign against Chouhan.
In its chargesheet, the CBI named 490 people who had a role in the PMT-2013 linked to Vyapam.
The agency found that many accused had remained untraced since they had provided the wrong address or were no longer living at the address given on their application forms for PMT-2013.