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Government work: Rs 2,675 per case is what scam-hit MP education board pays its lawyers on average

Government work: Ever lucrative?
Government work: Ever lucrative?

From the time the Vyapam scam came to light in 2013 and the investigations began, the Madhya Pradesh Professional Examination Board, (or Vyapam as it is popularly known) has so far spent Rs 60 lakh on its 12 lawyers for various cases, a reply to an RTI plea received by Ajay Dubey from the MP examination board this month has revealed.

Counting the Rs 40.4 lakh of fees paid to 10 lawyers for 151 cases, Ignoring the higher fees paid to the two highest paid lawyers, that works out to a mathematical average of only Rs 2,675 per case.

By contrast, the most senior Supreme Court lawyers easily charge private clients upwards of Rs 15 lakh per hearing, as reported by Mint and Legally India in September.The RTI reply shows that the lawyer with the highest workload who handled 785 cases between 2013 and 2015, Purushaindra Kaurav at the Madhya Pradesh High Court at Jabalpur, was paid Rs 4,52,000 for 302 cases in 2013, which works out to a mathematical average Rs 1,496 per case.

However, in 2014 that increased to Rs 38,41,000 for 407 cases (or Rs 9,437 per case) and decreased again to Rs 3,40,500 for 76 cases in 2015 (Rs 4,480 per case).

A Supreme Court lawyer, Rahul Srivastava, was the highest paid at Rs 55,000 for two cases in 2014 (Rs 27,500 per case) and Rs 9,32,500 for 42 cases in 2015 (Rs 22,202 per case).

Meanwhile, the other 10 lawyers on the department’s roll earned no more than 5,000 per case on average, and one time as little as Rs 727.

Vivek Khedekar, another high court lawyer, has received no payment so far for 12 cases in 2015 even though he got a payment of Rs 36,000 for nine cases (Rs 4,000 per case) and 40,000 for 20 cases (Rs 2,000 per case) in 2013 and 2014 respectively.

Another lawyer, Shobitaditya Srivastava, received no payment for seven cases in 2014 and 2015, while being paid Rs 4,000 for seven cases (Rs 571 per case) in 2013, the RTI reply showed.

Among the others, Manoj Trivedi has not received his payment for seven cases in 2014 and 2015; Akash Sharma, who got Rs 96,000 for 22 cases (Rs 4,363) in 2013 and Rs 44,000 for nine cases (Rs 4,888 per case) in 2014, is yet to get his payment for 10 cases in 2015.

MP S Raghuvanshi received no payment for two cases in 2014 and Anamika Kumar is yet to be paid for her case in 2015 (she received Rs 24,000 for seven cases (Rs 3,428 per case) in 2013).

The RTI reply also shows that lawyer Rahul Dibakar earned Rs 36,000 for nine cases (Rs 4,000 per case) in 2013, Rs 24,000 for 19 cases (Rs 1,263 per case) in 2014 and Rs 8,000 for 11 cases (Rs 727 per case) in 2015.

Lawyer Piyush Dubey earned Rs 64,000 for 30 cases (Rs 2,133 per case) in 2013, Dipak Chadna received Rs 8,000 for four cases (Rs 2,000 per case) in 2013 and Raghubir Singh Chouhan received Rs 20,000 for four cases (Rs 5,000 per case) in 2013.

The irregularities in Vyapam came to light when 20 people were arrested in 2013 for impersonation in an entrance examination held in 2009. Vyapam conducts examinations to recruit government employees in Madhya Pradesh and holds admission tests for medical courses.

Forty-eight people associated with the Vyapam scam have died - mostly under mysterious circumstances. Following the chain of deaths, the Supreme Court in July directed the CBI to investigate not just the Vyapam scam but also the deaths related to it.

The recent death was of an Indian Forest Service officer, Vijay Bahadur Singh, whose body was found by a railway track near Odisha’s Belpahad station on 15 October. He was travelling by the Puri-Jodhpur Express. The CBI has started probing this death as well.

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