Bhopal: Calling the Vyapam scam probe his "trial by fire", Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan on Thursday said he was "grateful" to the Supreme Court for accepting his request and ordering a CBI probe and urged the agency to begin investigation at the earliest to bring out the truth.
Under relentless Congress attack for the large number of deaths of people allegedly linked with the scam in the state's professional recruitment examination and the delay in agreeing to a CBI probe, Chouhan said he wanted the examination system to be fixed.
Chouhan said had he so wished, there would have not been a probe into the scam.
"I am grateful. Whatever I have heard of the Supreme Court order. It said 'we appreciate the stand taken by the Attorney General on behalf of the state government and accept the request (for a CBI probe)'. I am very thankful to the apex court," he told reporters.
The Supreme Court has appreciated our prayer and accepted it, he noted.
Fending off allegations of his involvement, he said, "This probe has been a trial by fire for me. Had I wished, there would be no probe. But I wanted anomalies in the system to be detected and fixed."
He said the CBI should now begin its probe at the earliest. "The whole truth should come out before the nation." Asked if he had spoken to Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the issue, he replied in the negative.
Asked about the Congress' demand for his resignation, he said the opposition suffers from "Shivraj-phobia" and has been hitting him below the belt. "They have been demanding it 5-6 times a day," he quipped.
The Supreme Court today ordered CBI to probe all Vyapam scam cases and alleged deaths related to it and also issued notices to the Centre, Madhya Pradesh Government and the Governor Ramnaresh Yadav on a plea seeking his removal over his alleged involvement in the scandal.
A bench headed by Chief Justice H L Dattu said all cases will be transferred to the CBI from Monday and the agency will file its report before it on July 24.
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Chouhan said his heart was "burdened" with the deaths of people allegedly linked with the scam and the truth behind it must come out.
The Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister today returned to the state after spending a day in New Delhi in connection with an official engagement. He used the opportunity to defend his government and also to meet the family of journalist Akshay
Singh, who had died under mysterious circumstances in the state while covering the scam.
An environment of suspicion has been created around these deaths and it must be cleared, he said. Welcoming the Supreme Court decision, the state's Home Minister Babulal Gaur said the court has accepted the state government's request in this regard.
"We welcome it. We have tried to fulfil our 'Raj Dharma' and we had requested the Supreme Court for a CBI probe. The Court has accepted out request and the truth will come out. We have been trying for a free and fair investigation for the last two years," he said.