One of the four whistleblowers of the Vyapam scam, Ashish Chaturvedi, has said that Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan is a "big fish" in the massive recruitment scam and his government wants him dead.
Even as he claimed that Chouhan is one of the key players in the scam, Chaturvedi mentioned that both the Congress and the BJP were also involved in the scam.
Talking to NDTV in Gwalior on Monday, Chaturvedi said his will be the "next mysterious death". He added that he fears that he will be killed even before he can reveal the entire truth behind the Vyapam scam and the information (which apparently only he has) linked to it.
The 26-year-old is, however, firm on his decision to expose Chouhan despite the risk to his life. "Even if I die as a result, I want to name the big fish - starting with Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan," he said.
Chaturvedi further claimed that on 14 instances he was either threatened or attacked for blowing the lid off the Madhya Pradesh Professional Examination Board (MPPEB) scam.
He claimed that his life was at threat thrice and once he escaped a kidnapping attempt too.
In the latest, personal security officer (PSO) Ramji Chaubey heard a group of people saying that Chaturvedi would be "cut into pieces" if he testifies against the Vyapam scam accused, The Times of India reports.
Chaubey had filed a police complaint after learning of the threat.
On the orders of a special court in Gwalior, Chaturvedi was given personal security in May this year. In the wake of a series of deaths (accused as well as witnesses) in the Vyapam scam, the court had on 5 May directed the Madhya Pradesh government and the police to provide lifetime security to Chaturvedi.
The court's order came after Chaturvedi filed an application claiming that Chouhan might try to kill him, the TOI reported.
He said when he had requested for security last year, police had asked him to pay ₹50,000 as protection money or stay inside his house to ensure his own safety.
'Akshay Singh's death is suspicious'
Speaking about Aaj Tak special correspondent Akshay Singh's sudden death, Chaturvedi said it seems suspicious as he had collected evidence against some powerful people.
"I spoke to him just two hours before that...he was collecting evidence to expose powerful people. His death is suspicious," he told NDTV.
Singh had gone to Madhya Pradesh to interview the family of a girl, who died after her name figured in the scam. He died just after the interview.
The following day, dean of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose Medical College in Jabalpur -- Dr Arun Sharma -- was found dead in a hotel room in Delhi under mysterious circumstances. He was to fly down to Agartala for inspection of a medical college as part of the Medical Council of India team.
Sharma was assisting the Special Task Force, which is investigating the massive Vyapam scam. Chouhan has, however, said that his death has no links with the recruitment scam that involves several politicians and bureaucrats.
The latest death was reported on Monday. A trainee woman cop allegedly committed suicide by jumping into a pond near the training academy in Madhya Pradesh's Sagar city.
Several such mysterious deaths have been reported in the recent days. Number of dead accused and witnesses in the Vyapam scam lies somewhere between 35 and 40. While some were allegedly suicide cases, some died under mysterious circumstances.
The three deaths in the last three days have prompted the whistleblowers to demand a CBI probe into the scam and the deaths that have followed it. They claim that the special team investigating the MPPEB scam under the supervision of the Jabalpur High Court cannot be trusted.
"When I went to give important information to an official, he told me, 'This whole well is laced with bhaang (intoxicant). If you too drink from it, you can also enjoy the high'," Chaturvedi told NDTV.