Vyapam scam: Two days, two deaths, Cong ups demand for CBI probe
New Delhi: The mysterious death of two persons probing the Vyapam scam in as many days has added yet another sordid twist to the scandal and set off strident calls for a CBI inquiry.Even before the news of sudden death of an investigative reporter of a TV channel soon after he had interviewed the parents of a deceased girl accused of involvement in the scam could sink in, came the report of the body of the Dean of a Jabalpur medical college being found in a Delhi hotel, sending shockwaves and triggering outrage.
Dr Arun Sharma, Dean of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose Medical College, Jabalpur, who was said to be probing irregularities in admissions to his college in connection with the scam, was found dead under mysterious circumstances at a Dwarka hotel.
An almost empty bottle of alcohol and vomit was found in the room. Forensic evidence has been collected and his body sent for post mortem.
What fuelled speculations of possible foul play was the fact that Sharma is the second Dean of the college to have died in suspicious circumstances in the last one year. D K Sakalle, his predecessor, who was inquiring into admissions of candidates for whom proxies had allegedly appeared in the Pre-Medical Test, had been found burnt at his residence. Madhya Pradesh police had then concluded he had committed suicide.
A day before, investigative journalist with a TV channel Akshay Singh died in Madhya Pradesh’s Jhabua district soon after having interviewed the parents Namrata Damor, an accused in the scam, whose body had been found under near railway tracks in Ujjain district on January 7, 2012.
38-year-old Akshay Singh, who started frothing at the mouth, was rushed to civil hospital and later to a private facility, but doctors failed to revive him. He was then taken to another hospital in nearby Dahod in Gujarat, where he was declared brought dead.
The twin deaths gave fresh ammunition to the Congress, which renewed its demand for a CBI probe into the massive admission and recruitment scam.
Terming the spate of deaths of people reportedly associated with ‘Vyapam’ as “extremely intriguing and deeply suspicious”, Congress demanded a Supreme Court-monitored CBI investigation into the alleged scam.
Calling the Vyapam the “most sinister scam of India”, its communications department incharge Randeep Surjewala demanded an inquiry by the Central agency, claiming the mechanism of SIT-STF combine has proved ineffective in probing the matter.
“The spate of deaths of 45 people related to Vyapam scam is indeed extremely intriguing and deeply suspicious. Vyapam has easily turned out to be most sinister scam in the history of India,” he added.
Around a fortnight back, the SIT probing the scam cases had submitted a report to the MP High Court wherein it said 23 accused and witnesses in the Vyapam scam had died “unnatural” deaths. Since then two more accused died under mysterious circumstances.
Under attack over a string of deaths of people connected in some way to the scandal, MP Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan said the government will write to the High Court-appointed SIT to “thoroughly investigate” the death of Singh, a journalist with the TV Today group.