Even as the Madhya Pradesh government is trying to defend the deaths of persons linked to PEB scam by categorising them as having occurred 'before and after' the scam probe began in July 2013, evidences suggest that the scam was going on for years before that but surprisingly remain out of investigation purview.
Close to 3,000 admissions to medical colleges were suspect between 2008 and 2013.
While most of them were given clean-chit, medical colleges expelled 315 students after finding that they had adopted fraudulent means for getting admissions between 2008 and 2011, says an official of the Medical Education department.
However, the STF has restricted its investigation to the admissions conducted only in 2012 and 2013. Apart from PMT, dozens of other examinations conducted by PEB in the past are also not being investigated.
Sources in STF accept that the scam was going on for years. When Alok Kumar alias Pintu, a middle-man, was recently arrested in connection with forest guard recruitment exam, recently, he revealed that he had got a selection done in PMT as early as in 2004.
On Monday, HT reported deaths of 37 persons linked to PEB scam. The state government then came out with a list saying that 14 persons had died 'after' the probe began in 2013 while 11 others had died 'before' the probe began.
This is an attempt to scale down in the enormity of the issue, says former independent MLA Paras Saklecha, the first whistleblower in the PEB scam.
"The scam was well known and I repeatedly raised the issue in 2009 in the Assembly. Subsequently, state government ordered an inquiry. The medical colleges conducted their own probes and hundreds of students who had got admission into MBBS through these rackets, were expelled", says whistleblower and former legislator Paras Saklecha, the first to raise the multi-layered scam.
"It was between 2008 and 2011, that hundreds of students got admission into MBBS through the racket and though it was organized crime no action was taken. In fact, nearly 3,000 students were found to have got admission through unfair practices but nearly majority of them were given clean chit", he adds.
STF officials privately accept that the scam was going on for many years.
"Earlier it was on small-scale till 2006. Later, after 2008, rackets like that of Jagdish Sagar and Sanjeev Shilpkar turned it into an money-making industry with PEB officials helping anyone crack exam who paid money", added an official.
Saklecha says that it was organized crime, yet STF ambit remains restricted to probing PMT 2012 and 2013, pre-PG (medical) for the year 2012-13 and seven other recruitment examinations.
From 2004 to 2013, PEB conducted 96 examinations, however, the STF probe is limited to barely a dozen-odd examinations, chiefly in 2012-2013, not going beyond.
"If probe goes in the past then officials who were heading PEB then, would also be in the net. Also, the students involved in the racket then, were just expelled, but officials of PEB were neither quizzed nor booked", he adds.
Saklecha, in a letter to STF recently, said that STF investigation doesn't seem to be efficient as it is not going into the criminal conspiracy-the involvement of those at the top who allowed such a big scam to continue for years.
STF chief Sudhir Sahi couldn't be contacted despite repeated attempts.