CBI pleads staff crunch, asks for 500 more officers to investigate Vyapam scam

Bhopal,Azaan Javaid: The probe into the Vyapam scam seems to be getting lengthier by each passing day, following which, the Central Bureau of Investigation has asked the Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) for deputation of 500 investigating officers into the agency to investigate the growing number of cases. Solicitor General Ranjit Kumar on Monday informed the apex court about the shortfall of CBI sleuths to take over the investigation into the massive admission and recruitment scam. This was after the CBI on Monday filed an affidavit in the Supreme Court asking for three more weeks to take hand over of the Vyapam case from the Madhya Pradesh government.

While the apex court granted CBI the three-week period, officials of the probe agency told dna that the biggest challenge faced by them while conducting the probe is the shortage of staff.

“More than 200 cases related to the Vyapam scam have to be probed. A team of at least two officers, an inspector and his assistant, look into one case but this can vary and sometimes one investigating officer can also look into 2-3 cases at a time.

“However given the nature of the investigation in Vyapam, if three CBI personnel are deputed on each case, we would be needing more than 500 officers. We have already informed the Department of Personnel and Training about the need of deputing officers from various other departments,” said a CBI official.

A 40-member team, headed by Joint Director RP Agarwal, had been sent to probe the massive admission and recruitment scam initially but within few weeks of taking up the investigation CBI officials had told dna that the agency was considering to bring in a reinforcement of more than 100 officers. According to sources nearly 20 more sleuths were added to the toll soon after. However, the number, it seems, is nowhere close to what the CBI expects.

On the issue of shortfall of CBI officers, Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi said though the agency has its own cadre, 50 per cent of the personnel with the agency were deputationist and now there has been a decline in the deputationist also.

“You need trained investigators. It takes two years to train them and I don’t have a pool of investigators,” Rohatgi told the bench. He added that when the matter was first heard in the apex court, there were 185 FIRs registered in the scam which has now gone up to 212 and there are chances that the number would rise further.

Officials told dna that the agency is also facing a massive shortfall of public prosecutors who could engage the defense lawyers in cases which are currently underway in various trial courts of Madhya Pradesh. The same issue was brought to the notice of the bench today.

Taking note of the inadequate number of public prosecutors, the bench also wanted to know the view of senior advocate KTS Tulsi who said the probe agency should consider one FIR as lead case to unearth the larger conspiracy to file a consolidated charge sheet instead of separate charge sheets. The next hearing is supposed to be take place on September 11.