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Bhopal City
Vyapam hard-disk tamper: CBI likely to question 3 senior cops

BHOPAL: Three cops, including two senior IPS officers are likely to be questioned by CBI, which kick-started a probe into a complaint alleging foul play during seizure of hard-disk from the computer of Vyapam chief system analyst Nitin Mahindra.

Mahindra is key accused in the scam and is in jail for two years. Sources say CBI will investigate whether Mahindra’s hard-disk was tampered before being sent to the Gujarat forensic laboratory for retrieving data.

“The hard disk was confiscated by crime branch of Indore police and the lab report was given to STF. It has to be verified if changes were made before or after the disk was dispatched to the lab,” said a CBI officer.

In February, Congress general secretary Digvijay Singh had submitted a 15-page affidavit before Justice Chandresh Bhushan-led SIT, alleging that contents of excel-sheet recovered from hard disk of scam accused Nitin Mahindra’s computer, were manipulated to shield chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan and his family. These charges would now be probed by the CBI.

Digvijay Singh had said, “Investigating agencies have replaced word ‘CM’ with ‘minister’ at 21 places, ‘M/s’ at one place and ‘Uma Bharati’ at seven places. Further at 18 places, the word ‘CM’ has removed, leaving a blank.”

Mahindra had maintained a record of names of candidates, their roll numbers and those who recommended candidates on an excel file on his computer. Recovery of the sheet, which was crucial evidence, resulted in arrest of hundreds of accused.

Digvijay Singh named whistle-blower Prashant Pandey as his source, who provided copy of Nitin Mahindra’s excel-sheet.

Prashant Pandey said, “Investigations should be done from the day, hard disc was seized by Indore police and truth will surface. Gujarat lab received a tampered disk. I won’t change my stand.”

“I became a whistle-blower when I realised STF was relying on tampered documents. I thought real documents would come out. When they didn’t, I had to come out,” he said.

Pandey’s excel sheet has been authenticated by Hyderabad-based forensic lab, Truth Labs, whose scientists are ready to testify in court. “STF neither collected my statement nor contacted Truth Labs to cross-examine my claims,” he said.

Pandey claims the sequence of seizure of Mahindra’s hard disk should be examined. “It was done in violation of Electronic Evidence Act. Officers who are accountable for this seizure should be brought to book. Senior IPS officers are involved,” Pandey said.