Vyapam scandal gets murkier with two more deaths

NEW DELHI/BHOPAL: Following the mysterious deaths of a Delhi-based TV journalist on the trail of Vyapam scam and the dean of a medical college who was assisting in the probe, the Opposition parties on Sunday mounted pressure on Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan for a CBI inquiry.

Congress General Secretary Digvijay Singh called for the viscera samples taken to be examined by doctors at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences in New Delhi.

“How can a healthy person die all of a sudden? Akshay was a healthy person, he had no heart problems. Post-mortem should be conducted at the AIIMS in New Delhi.

At least 33 people who were either witnesses or accused in the scam have died over the past five years

“Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan has said that he has no issues with a CBI inquiry. If that is true, then he must write to the Home Minister and ask for a CBI probe into the Vyapam scam,” Singh said.

Another Congress MP, Jyotiraditya Scindia said, “We demand a thorough investigation by an independent agency with regard to all the deaths linked with this scam.”

The Aam Aadmi Party also called for a CBI inquiry, saying the death of TV journalist Akshay Singh points to a nexus of politicians, officials and dalals involved in the affair.

“It is becoming very clear that politicians, officials and dalals are involved in the Vyapam scam. Around 1,800 people have been arrested in connection with the case, the prime among which was former Madhya Pradesh Education Minister Laxmikant Sharma and there is an FIR against the state Governor,” AAP leader Alok Agarwal said at a press conference here.

The Centre, meanwhile, said a “fair inquiry” should be conducted to put to rest all doubts over the mysterious death of Akshay.

“Since various issues are being raised with respect to the circumstances of this death, it would be absolutely important that a very fair inquiry is held so that all doubts can be put to rest,” said Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley.

The Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister said he would write to the High Court-appointed Special Investigation Team probing the Vyapam scam to look into the sudden death of the journalist.

He further said his government had no objection if the MP High Court gets the probe into the scam done by any other agency, including CBI.

Akshay Singh, a journalist with the TV Today Group, died suddenly yesterday when he had gone to take an interview of the family of a slain Vyapam scam accused in Jhabua district of Madhya Pradesh. He was cremated at the Nigambodh Ghat here today.

Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia and Delhi BJP chief Satish Upadhyay were among those present during the cremation ceremony.

In another case, Dr Arun Sharma, the dean of a medical college in Madhya Pradesh, who was assisting the Vyapam scam investigation, was found dead this morning in a Delhi hotel. He had arrived here yesterday.

According to police, Dr Sharma was assisting the Special Task Force that is probing the Vyapam scam by providing documents on fake medical entrance examinees in the state-run medical college that he headed.

The Vyapam scam has become a major political controversy with numerous witnesses and accused dying under mysterious circumstances.

At least 33 people who were either witnesses or accused in the scam have died over the past five years. The scam was all about the manipulation in the selection process for government colleges and jobs conducted by the Madhya Pradesh Vyavsayik Pariksha Mandal (Vyapam). It involved the impersonation of candidates, rampant copying, blank answer sheets and fake marks.