NEW DELHI: The whistleblower behind the Vyapam admission and recruitment scam may have just escaped with his life after a suspicious car accident in Madhya Pradesh. Prashant Pandey, however, is still going strong. Speaking to ET in New Delhi, Pandey says he is not giving in and has fresh plans to take on the state government. “I will go to the Supreme Court this week, revealing how the Madhya Pradesh government is compromising national security and indulging in something absolutely unlawful,” .” Pandey told ET, refusing to divulge more details. Several witnesses in what’s come to be known as the Vyapam scam have died and the recent road accident near Indore has Pandey worried, but he says the path of a whistleblower is not easy.
After eight years of working with the Madhya Pradesh police, as he claims, Pandey suddenly found himself on the other side of the fence when the Vyapam scam, a fake admission racket, began to unspool in 2013-14. From helping the police to recover information about those behind the racket, Pandey was suddenly arrested in August 2014 on suspicion that he leaked sensitive information that he retrieved from a hard disk seized from the Vyapam office in July 2013. “I was obeying the law and working for the state lawfully. They broke me down for no reason… just their suspicions…the way, without any reason, they booked me…harassed me, my career was hit…I had so many heavy IT assignments which I lost. People stopped trusting me…They did whatever they could. Now I will do whatever I can,” Pandey said. Pandey contacted whistleblower Anand Rai and then got in touch with senior Congress leaders from the state after he got bail. Weeks later, Congress leader Digvijaya Singh h .eld press conferences pointing at a greater conspiracy in the Vyapam scam and allegations about the possible role of Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan’s office in the scam
Pandey claimed that while Chouhan had recommended a number of candidates for admission, the original list was tampered with to transfer the blame to rival leaders and other ministers. The CM’s office has strongly denied all such allegations. Pandey flew to Delhi and filed an affidavit in the Delhi High Court under Article 21 of the Constitution, which assures every citizen the right to protection of life and liberty. The court provided him security while he was here. Back in Madhya Pradesh, Pandey was given security a little over a month ago but he claims it is a sham. Asked why he kept mum on the Vyapam scam for so long and then chose to give it a political twist by going to the Congress, Pandey says he had no choice.
“When I am fighting against the entire system and the Madhya Pradesh government… these (Congress leaders) could be the only possible support… that was the best option I have…They wanted justice and so do I,” Pandey said. The Madhya Pradesh government hese (Congress leaders) could be the only possible support… that was the best option I have…They wanted justice and so do I,” Pandey said. The Madhya Pradesh government rubbished Pandey’s claims.
“So far state has no information about death of any key witness of the case, in mysterious circumstances… Prashant Pandey has never asked for security from Indore Police. Family of Sh Prashant Pandey has asked for security and Indore police has deployed a male PSO and a female police officer for their security since more than a month,” Surya Kant Mishra, principal secretary to the chief minister, said in an emailed response to ET’s queries.
The allegation of registering a case of killing a cow is totally false. So far, no such case is registered,” Mishra said. The Madhya Pradesh government also said that all allegations regarding tampering of the hard disk are subject to scrutiny by the high court in Jabalpur. “On 24/04/2015 the high court has given prima facie finding that the content of pen drive and other documents of Prashant Pandey appears to be forged and has been done with intention to mislead the agency investigating crime, ..