The mother of all scams by Dr Mohammad Manzoor Alam (July 15, 2015)
The fast unfolding Vyapam scandal is viewed by a substantial number of political commentators as an albatross around Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s neck that will certainly restrict his maneuverability and reduce him to helplessness. This is how the people at large see this mother of all scams arising from a BJP-ruled state, a huge grind stone around the PM’s neck.
Come as it does at the first anniversary of Modi rule at the Centre, it is far more ominous and destructive than UPA’s scandals that came in the late stage of its second term in office. Hence, Mr Modi has taken far less time to get discredited than Dr Manmohan Singh. In fact, in its evil and murderousness Vyapam surpasses all of UPA’s scams put together. After all, nobody was killed in those swindles.
On the contrary, as many as 45 people have been mysteriously bumped off in Vyapam-related murders, as per the opposition parties. The BJP government in Madhya Pradesh, the epicentre of this evil, has admitted “only” 25 Vyapam-related murders. The SIT has calculated the toll at 35. The murders have been done so artistically that even the families of some of the victims believe that their men died from natural causes. All the victims were either accused of involvement in the scam or were Vyapam officials, or some other people working at institutions with some relation to Vyapam.
The perpetrators of the serial murders are “lucky” in a certain, perverse, sense. Families of victims often do not want the trouble of police visiting them regularly in two cases: that of their men having been involved in the huge scam, as well as their murder by the scamsters to destroy proof of their involvement. Some families are claiming their men died from natural causes just to wriggle out of the mess.
It is important to note that the victims are not always and invariably disadvantaged people. Well-to-do people are also being regularly done away with, the most high-profile being Ram Naresh Yadav’s son. Yadav, a former chief minister of Uttar Pradesh, is currently the governor of Madhya Pradesh. Even this family is claiming that their man died from natural causes. His association with the scamsters is well-known, but his family does not want further trouble. Even Ram Naresh Yadav’s gubernatorial position is said to be uncertain now.
Whatever else they are, the scamsters seem to be extremely influential people entrenched in power in the state and at Centre. Chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan of BJP has been dodging demands for a CBI inquiry into the murky affair involving bribery and swindle of thousands of crores of rupees topped with the murder of up to 45 persons in mysterious ways. When the pressure became unbearable, Chouhan relented and ordered a CBI enquiry.
However, pinning too much hope on CBI is not realistic as this supposed watchdog of democracy has often been reduced to a mere lapdog of the people in power.