On Saturday, journalist Akshay Singh was in the home of Om Prakash Damor in Meghnagar interviewing the family about the mysterious 2012 death of Om Prakash’s sister Namrata, an accused in the Vyapam scam, when he collapsed. Om Prakash spoke to HT’s Shahroz Afridi about what transpired that day. He points out how the incident exposed the dismal condition of health services in the state.
Akshay Singh and two other people came to my place in Meghnagar (in Jhabua district) at around 12:30pm. Akshay was asking for the complete story of my sister Namrata from my father (Mehtab Singh). He told my father, "You are a second-class officer and you could still not get justice for your daughter. It is surprising indeed." Singh said that he had gathered several clues in the scam and may be his story would help my sister get justice.
My father showed him my sister’s post-mortem report, and the orders that the high court passed related to MPPEB scam. This interaction took around an hour.
He was sitting on the sofa opposite me. Suddenly he put his right hand on his head and his lips started quivering, saliva started flowing out of his mouth and he fell unconscious.
None of us were prepared for this. Aghast, we carried him to the Innova (that he arrived in) and rushed to a government hospital.
We didn’t take him inside and called the doctor to the car. The doctor said his pulse was missing. "I have no facility here. I can’t even give him shocks (defibrillation). Please take him to Jeevan Jyoti hospital," the helpless doctor told us. We immediately rushed to that hospital.
Doctors at Jeevan Jyoti too said that Singh’s pulse was missing. They said they didn’t have the (defibrillation) equipment either, and told us to take him to Dahod (an adjoining town in Gujarat about 48km away from Jhabua).
At Mahavir Hospital in Dahod, cardiologist Dr Shital Shah announced that Singh was ‘brought dead.’ He was then taken to a government hospital in Dahod for the post mortem. I don’t exactly remember the timeline. I know that we reached Dahod before sunset and I returned home around midnight.