Just weeks before a report on the Vyapam scam is due to be filed before the Madhya Pradesh High Court, two more accused in the recruitment scam have died in the past two days under suspicious circumstances. The number of deaths of accused and witnesses related to the scam has thus reached 25 so far.
However, natural causes were cited as the reasons behind the latest deaths. While Dr Rajendra Arya breathed his last in a hospital in Gwalior reportedly due to liver infection on Sunday, 29-year-old Narendra Singh Tomar died of a cardiac arrest on Saturday night. Dr Arya was out on bail.
Tomar was accused of arranging for imposters to write the pre-medical test conducted by the Madhya Pradesh Professional Examination Board (MPPEB) in 2009.
A veterinary doctor by profession, Tomar was lodged in the Indore district jail. On Saturday, he complained of heart pain and was rushed to Maharaja Yashwant Rao Hospital, where he was declared 'brought dead'.
"He complained of chest pain so we rushed him to the hospital. How he died, we do not know," NDTV quoted constable Dinesh Yadav of the district jail as saying.
Though Tomar's family and the Congress have suspected a foul play in the episode, Madhya Pradesh home minister Babulal Gaur ruled out any such possibility.
"The deaths of people linked to the Vyapam scam are natural...there is no foul play behind it as alleged by the Congress," Gaur told NDTV on Monday.
The Congress, which has been demanding a CBI probe into the mysterious deaths of several people linked to the scam, has accused Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan of trying to hush things up. Chouhan and his family members have also been accused in the recruitment scam.
"Shivraj Singh Chouhan is trying to cover up. PM should speak about it; he does not speak what nation wants to hear," Congress General Secretary Digvijaya Singh said.
He claimed that "more than 41 people who were accused have died mysteriously".
Recently, Madhya Pradesh Governor Ram Naresh Yadav's son Shailesh Yadav, another accused in the scam, had allegedly committed suicide.
Shailesh Yadav was accused of fixing the recruitment of 10 candidates as Grade III teachers.
The Vyapam scam was exposed in 2013 after an intensive investigation.
At least 3,000 people were named in Vyapam scam that involves several politicians and bureaucrats; nearly 1,900 of them are reportedly behind the bars, while 500 accused are absconding.
The Madhya Pradesh High Court has asked the Special Investigation Team (SIT), which is probing into the scam, to submit a report on the deaths. The SIT also has to submit the chargesheet in the case by 15 July.