Vyapam scam: Death after death
One after the other, people variously linked with the Vyapam (Vyavsayik Pareeksha Mandal) scam are dying. The mystery deepens with every new death reported even as the probe agencies struggle to unravel it.
A cursory perusal shows that not only have candidates died but also dummy aspirants as also those probing the scam.
The issue has again been hogging national headlines as three deaths have been reported in the last three days.
In the first case, a reporter from a Delhi-based new channel who was in Jhabua in Madhya Pradesh to gather information about the scam died on Saturday.
In the second incident, Arun Sharma, the dean of a medical college in Madhya Pradesh, was found dead in a hotel in Delhi. Sharma was helping police in the probe into the Vyapam scam.
On Monday, a trainee police sub-inspector Anamika Kushwaha committed suicide by jumping into a pond near the police training school in Sagar. She was selected through an exam conducted by Vyapam.
The scam had come to light in July 2013. Since then people connected with it have been dying at an alarming regularity. While the Congress in the state has put the number of deaths at 48, the SIT probing the scam on high court's direction has claimed 33 deaths. The state government accepts only 25 deaths to be linked with the scam.
Those dead include candidates, people impersonating for candidates, agents as well as relatives of the accused. Deaths have been reported inside as well as outside the jail.
Last week, an accused Narendra Singh Tomar of Indore fell ill and died in the hospital. Another Vyapam accused Amit Sagar of Sheopur had gone for a walk and his body was found in a canal. The STF and police have claimed it to be a suicide. Shailesh Yadav, son of Governor Ramnaresh Yadav, was found dead under mysterious circumstances in a Lucknow hotel. The governor is also an accused in the scam.
This has made made those concerned with the scam and the whistle-blowers jittery about their security. The biggest aspect of the scam concerns medical college admissions.
G.S. Patel, the dean of Gajaraja Medical College in Gwalior, had raised questions about the security in a meeting six months ago. Patel told IANS that at that time he was concerned about the security because students were then being expelled from the college. But he had no such concerns currently.
Two STF officers involved in the probe into the matter have also expressed threat to their lives. STF is probing the matter under the supervision of the SIT headed by a former judge justice Chandresh Bhushan and constituted on the direction of the high court.
While talking to reporters on Monday justice Bhushan admitted that two officers have claimed a threat to their lives. Sudhir Tiwari, president of Jabalpur chapter of Indian Medical Association, has also demanded security. Tiwari had raised questions of about death of the then dean D.K. Saakalle . Saakalle had burnt to death in his house on July 4, 2014. His death was officially described as suicide.
MP Congress chief Arun Yadav too has raised questions about these deaths and demanded a CBI probe. Chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan has given assurance of security to all those concerned.
Vyapam conducts medical and engineering entrance exams as well as recruitment for certain categories of state government jobs. Large scale irregularities were unearthed in various Vyapam exams in July 2013 and cases were registered.
Former minister Lakshmikant Sharma, former exam controller of Vyapam Pankaj Trivedi and many senior officials and political leaders are accused in Vyapam scam in which a case has been registered against Governor Ramnaresh Yadav as well. - IANS