Supreme Court tells CBI to take over all cases related to Vyapam

AG Mukul Rohatgi tells SC that CBI will soon have 1,000 more officers to boost the agency's capacity to pursue investigations

New Delhi: The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) will soon have 1,000 more officers to boost the agency’s capacity to pursue investigations, the government’s law officer told the Supreme Court on Friday.

The central government has decided to increase the cadre strength of CBI to 7,000 from 6,000 at present, attorney general Mukul Rohatgi told the court. “Things are moving at a fast pace and sanctioning of officers will happen in 10-15 days," he said.

The statement was made during a hearing connected to the so-called Vyapam scam before the Supreme Court.

CBI filed a status report on the investigation into the scam—in which corruption has been alleged in the conduct of examinations by the Madhya Pradesh Professional Examination Board, also known by its Hindi acronym Vyapam—before a three-judge bench led by Chief Justice H.L. Dattu.

The agency expressed its inability to reopen investigation in cases where trial has already started. “Even the accused have some rights and we cannot reopen the investigation at this stage unless this court makes an observation to that extent," solicitor general Ranjit Kumar, appearing on behalf of CBI, told the court.

To this, the court replied: “It does not matter to us what stage of investigation it is. All cases related to Vyapam scam must be taken over by CBI."

In previous hearings, CBI had said it is facing a dearth of officers to investigate cases. On 24 August, a bench led by justice T.S. Thakur had asked CBI to file a report on vacancies in the organization.

CBI has so far taken over probes in 117 cases related to the Vyapam scam. The agency will have to take over another 78 cases in which investigations are in various stages. It requested more time to take over all the cases, spread across 20 courts in Madhya Pradesh.

The case will be heard next on 9 October.