Supreme Court
While hearing its ongoing batch of petitions challenging demonetisation, the supreme court refused to extend dates for exemption of old Rs 500 and Rs 1000 currency notes for certain services, while emphasizing that the government is the best judge,[Representational Image]IANS

In a major breakthrough in the massive recruitment scam, the Supreme Court on Thursday handed over the Vyapam scam case and the investigation into all the deaths linked to it to the Central Bureau of Investigation.

The top court has issued a notice to the CBI over transfering of case from the Special Investigation Team (SIT) to the central agency. The SC has asked the CBI to respond within two weeks, according to news reports.

The Supreme Court has posted the next hearing on the matter for 24 July.

The top court was hearing petitions filed by Congress leader Digvijay Singh, AAP leader Kumar Vishwas and three of the four whistle-blowers of the MPPEB – Ashish Chaturvedi, Anand Rai and Prashant Pandey – who demanded a SC-monitored CBI probe into the case for fair trial.

The petition was filed after nearly 40 people linked to the scam died, and many alleged loopholes in the previous investigations surfaced. 

The SC also heard petitions demanding the removal of Madhya Pradesh Governor Ram Naresh Yadav from his position following his role in the Vyapam scam, and Madhya Pradesh High Court's order to quash the investigation against him.

It has issued notices to the Centre, Yadav and the Madhya Pradesh government seeking their response on the petition within four weeks.

In a revelation made by NDTV, which accessed the police document, it has come to fore that even though Yadav was the accused number 10 in the FIR, he was never interrogated. The STF had in the FIR alleged that Yadav and his son accepted bribes to allow 10 candidates to cheat in the entrance exam for government teachers, according to the report.

Even as the SC accepted the petitions seeking CBI probe into Vyapam scam, it lashed out at the Madhya Pradesh HC saying it could have ordered a CBI probe but instead washed its hands off the Vyapam scam and put the ball in the Supreme Court's court. 

On Wednesday, a division Bench of HC headed by Chief Justice AM Khankilwar deferred the hearing till 20 July saying that it will hear the case only after the top court declares its verdict on it.

Ahead of the SC's order, the Special Task Force under the supervision of Madhya Pradesh SIT was probing the scam case, which was being monitored by the HC.

However, a series of deaths reported in the last few days prompted the demand for SC-monitored CBI probe.

The demand grew intense when the death case of scam-accused Namrata Damor came to the fore following Aaj Tak Special Correspondent Akshay Singh's mysterious death on Saturday soon after interviewing her parents in Madhya Pardesh.

The Ujjain police in Madhya Pradesh re-opened the case after four people linked to the scam died under mysterious circumstances in the last few days.

Damor's death was concluded as suicide by the police in their closure report, submitted last year. However, the investigation remained inconclusive as the autopsy report had suggested that it was a "homicidal" death caused by "violent asphyxia as a result of smothering".