One of the prime accused in the multi-crore Vyapam scam has been arrested by the Uttar Pradesh Special Task Force in a joint operation with the Central Bureau of Investigation, reported PTI. Uttar Pradesh DGP Javeed Ahmed said Shivhare was picked up in Kanpur after absconding for the past three years. The government had put a reward of Rs 10,000 for information on him.
Shivhare was wanted in connection with five cases related to alleged irregularities in various entrance and recruitment examinations conducted by the Madhya Pradesh Professional Examination Board, also known as Vyavsayik Pariksha Mandal (Vyapam). He will be taken back to Bhopal after he is produced before a local court on Wednesday. Shivhare is from UP, and his wife is a member of the local body in the state's Mahoba area.
He allegedly played a key role in the scam and arranged for fake candidates to appear for the examinations. His plea for an anticipatory bail was rejected by the Madhya Pradesh High Court in 2014.
The lid on the racket was blown in May 2012 when an invigilator at a test for veterinary colleges realised that one of the candidates was not who he claimed to be. The photo ID card did not match the person who was taking the test held. On investigation, the police found a long trail spread across various districts in the state, reported The Indian Express.
The scam came to light in July 2013, and it was handed over to the CBI for investigation in 2015. Since then, the investigation agency has registered 112 cases against more than 2,000 accused, including high-level officials and politicians. MP Governor Ram Naresh Yadav was also booked by the STF in connection with a forest guard recruitment scam conducted by Vyapam in 2015. However, he got away since his gubernatorial post gives him immunity against criminal prosecution.
So far, several people connected to the scam have died under mysterious circumstances. While the CBI is probing 17 deaths, the STF have held that a total of 25 people have died, reported the Hindustan Times. However, it is widely believed that the numbers are much higher. The mysterious deaths of middlemen and witnesses in the case gained national attention after the death of journalist who was investigating the scam. The 38-year-old reporter for Aaj Tak died on July 4, 2015, only hours after he interviewed the family of a girl who had links to the scam and who also died under mysterious circumstances, according to The News Minute.
In January, the CBI got the Centre's approval to set up a second Anti-Corruption Zone, primarily to expedite investigations and trials in the scam.