The Madhya Pradesh government is sitting on the CBI’s request to provide government accommodation to its sleuths probing the Vyapam scam for the past nine months. The agency has now said that because of the lack of accommodation, its investigation is getting affected adversely.
The CBI officers who took over the Vyapam investigation in July 2015, including one DIG, five superintendents of police and 140 other officials, have moved to Bhopal. They had asked the state government to provide them with temporary places of stay as the investigation would to take a long time because of the sheer volume of the FIRs that have been filed. But for the lack of any government initiative, the officers are being forced to stay in circuit houses and state guest houses.
“Ever since we came here, we have been working non-stop. There is a lot of pressure on us related to this case, and we are also not able to bring our family members to Bhopal because of the lack of accommodation. We have communicated this problem to both the state government and our seniors in New Delhi, but nothing has happened. The only option left for our officers is to take long leaves if they want to meet their family members. This is affecting our work as almost all of the officers working in this case are from other states,” an official involved in the probe said. The state government had given two government houses to the agency, which are being used as the investigating team’s office. No house, however, has been allotted for the officials to stay.
As per the CBI manuals, for hiring of building on rent for official purpose, efforts should be made to locate government buildings rather than private ones. If no government accommodation is available, then the agency can move towards the option of private houses. Officials said: “We cannot investigate the case by operating from New Delhi as most of the documents and evidence that we require have originated from here (Bhopal). Every day, we have sent written requests to the state government seeking possession of one official communication or the other, and hence it is pertinent for us to operate from Bhopal only.”
In January 2015, the Gwalior bench of the Madhya Pradesh High Court had come down on the agency for failing to present the status report on the investigation.
Recently, a senior CBI official, who is a part of the investigating team in Bhopal, was forced to write a letter to the state government requesting the allotment of government accommodation. “We had first written the letter in August last year. Two more letters were sent thereafter. Now we have sent another letter, seeking an accommodation. We have sought an accommodation that we can use as our third office,” the official said.
Emails sent to the CBI spokesperson seeking the agency’s response did not elicit any response.