Vyapam Scam
Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan (bottom left) has been facing flak of the opposition ever since Aaj Tak TV reporter Akshay Singh (top left) died mysteriously while covering Vyapam scam in MP and Jabalpur Medical College Dean Dr Arun Sharma (bottom right) was found dead in a Delhi hotel under mysterious circumstances.India Today/Reuters/Twitter ANI

Vyapam scam, which is termed as India's most vicious scandal, has taken a horrifying turn with the death of four more people in as many days, all somehow linked to the massive recruitment racket.

In the latest, a police constable was found hanging from the ceiling fan at a tourist police outpost in Orchha town in Tikamgarh district of Madhya Pradesh, where he was posted.

The constable, Ramakant Pandey, was a suspect in the Madhya Pradesh Professional Examination Board (MPPEB) scam. The Special Task Force (STF) probing the Vyapam scam had questioned him a few months back, The Times of India reported.

Like many others, Pandey is said to have committed suicide. Tikamgarh SP Nimish Agarwal said the policeman was an alcoholic and was depressed about the debt he was in.

Meanwhile, Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan said on Tuesday that he will write to the high court requesting to hand over the probe into the matter to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI). He said that he has taken the decision keeping in view people's sentiments.

However, senior Congress leader Digvijaya Singh and one of the whistleblowers in the case -- Ashish Chaturvedi -- claimed that Chouhan agreed to the CBI probe "under pressure".


3:03 pm: 

3 pm: Vyapam whistleblower Ashish Chaturvedi claims Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan agreed to CBI probe under pressure.

2:58 pm: The viscera samples of journalist Akshay Singh has been brought to Delhi for examination at AIIMS.

1:55 pm: Chouhan said at a press meet that he will write to the High Court requesting for CBI probe into Vyapam scam. He said that he has taken the decision keeping in view people's sentiments.

He further added that he has complete trust on STF and SIT and is satisfied with the investigation they are carrying out in the case under the supervision of the HC, but there is a need to address certain questions that have been raised in connection with the Vyapam scam.

"Baseless allegations have been put on me. Cong doesnt care about Vyapam, they only cared about targeting me," ANI Chouhan him as saying. "... Their accusations had nothing to do with deaths,just to spoil my reputation."

1 pm: Chouhan will address a press conference in Bhopal on Tuesday.

12:50 pm: The National Students' Union of India (NSUI) activists in Bengaluru are raising slogans against Union Law Minister Sadananda Gowda, who called the Vyapam scam a "silly issue".

Gowda was addressing the media in Udaipur when he said that asking Prime Minister to speak on the recruitment scam is unfair.

"The state has initiated probe. The deaths are a matter of concern, but law and order is state subject. See, the Prime Minister need not answer on silly issues... The concerned ministers and party president have answered. For each silly issue asking the Prime Minister to answer is not fair," ANI quoted Gowda as saying.

Akshay Singh had evidence to expose some powerful people: Vyapam whistleblower

The fresh trail of unending deaths in the Vyapam scam started with the sudden death of Delhi-based Aaj Tak TV reporter Akshay Singh while covering the massive recruitment scam in Madhya Pradesh.

Singh was in Meghnagar near Jhabua town on Saturday afternoon to talk to the family of Namrata Damor, who was found dead under mysterious circumstances after being quizzed over the exam scam.

The journalist collapsed suddenly after finishing the interview and died while being taken to a hospital in Dahod, Gujarat.

Although, the initial post-mortem report suggested no foul play, his sister Pankshi Singh requested Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan that his viscera samples be sent outside the state, preferably AIIMS in Delhi, for fair investigation.

Chouhan had agreed to her demand and the process to send the viscera samples has been initiated.

Meanwhile, the doctors, who conducted Akshay Singh's autopsy at Dahod hospital, have reserved their opinion on the cause of death. "The opinion on the cause of the death is reserved in the post-mortem report," PTI quoted Jhabua district Superintendent of Police (SP) Abid Khan as saying.

Congress leader Manish Tewari had suspected that radioactive element polonium killed the TV reporter.

Akshay Singh, 38, was a member of an Special Investigation Team at Aaj Tak and a Special Correspondent with the TV news channel since December 2013.

Jabalpur's NSCB Medical College Dean's autopsy "inconclusive"

The journalist's death was followed by the death of the dean of Jabalpur's Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose (NSCB) Medical College. Dr. Arun Sharma was found dead under mysterious circumstances in a hotel room in Delhi early on Sunday morning.

Sharma, 64, was reportedly assisting the STF by providing documents on fake medical entrance examinees in the state-run medical college that he headed. He was also heading the team constituted by the Madhya Pradesh government to investigate the Vyapam scam.

The Delhi police had recovered an empty liquor bottle from his hotel room along with medicines, including anti-depressant pills, diabetes and blood pressure pills, the TOI reports.

The doctors who conducted the autopsy at AIIMS on Monday mentioned that cause of Sharma's death in the intial post-mortem report was "inconclusive". Doctors have preserved his viscera samples for further examination and ascertain the cause of the dean's death.

While the police found no foul play in Sharma's death during the initial investigation, Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister said his death is not linked to the Vyapam scam.

Woman trainee cop "committed suicide"

The third death was reported on Monday from Madhya Pradesh's Sagar city. 

A woman trainee cop, recruited through Vyavsayik Pareeksha Mandal (Vyapam), was found dead under mysterious circumstances in a pond near her training centre.

Sub-Inspector (SI) Anamika Kushwaha was posted as a trainee at the Jawaharlal Nehru Training Centre. Sagar Police Academy ASP Savita Sohane said she jumped into the pond and committed suicide. She said Kushwaha was said to be "mentally stressed for the last few days".

However, the exact cause of her death has not been established yet.

Several people linked to massive Vyapam scam have died so far

Ever since the scam was exposed in 2013, over 2,000 people were booked and many more were quized over the Vyapam scam that involves top politicians and bureaucrats. Several people, including suspects, accused and witnesses have died.

While some allegedly committed suicide, others were found dead under mysterious circumstances.

One of the four whistleblowers of the Vyapam scam, Ashish Chaturvedi, claimed that he fears he will be the next as Chouhan and his government want him dead.

Even Union Water Resources Minister Uma Bharti has expressed her fears as people linked to the scam are dying one after the other.

"There is panic in Madhya Pradesh due to the deaths. I am scared. I am a minister but still I am scared. I will convey my fears to Shivraj Singh Chouhan," PTI quoted her as saying.

She further said that the people might be dying of "shame and fear" the scam has caused.

"Maybe nobody is killing them. But the fear and shame of the innocent people is causing brain haemorrhage, heart attack or suicide. Because when I heard my name in Vyapam, even I have gone through lot of trauma...What I went through that night...I could have died," she said.

She added that she backs CBI investigation and was among the first to suggest it.

Supreme Court to hear petitions seeking CBI probe into the scam on 9 July

The opposition parties have demanded a CBI probe into the Vyapam scam following several deaths linked to it. Congress and Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) both have demanded Supreme Court-monitored CBI investigation into the case.

Congress leader Digvijaya Singh and AAP leader Kumar Vishwas have separately filed petitions demanding SC-monitored independent CBI inquiry into the scam.

The apex court will on Tuesday take up petitions demanding CBI probe into Vyapam scam after Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh said the Centre could only initiate a CBI probe if SC intervenes.

The SC Bench headed by Chief Justice of India HL Dattu will take up five petitions, including the ones filed by Vishwas and Digvijaya Singh. The Bench has posted the hearing on 9 July, The Indian Express reports.

The Vyapam scam is currently being monitored by Madhya Pradesh High Court and a Special Investigation Team (SIT) is probing the scam. Rajnath Singh, had on Monday, said that the HC has denied handing over the case to CBI. 

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