The very mention of the word scam makes Mahavir Sharma fidgety and signs of fear flits across his face. For him, as for other members of his family, the word is now the synonym of official terror and it all started when his brother Pramod committed suicide in April, 2013.
Pramod, just 22 when he died, was named as an accused in the PEB scam, charged with helping students crack the pre-medical test , one of the many layers in Madhya Pradesh’s biggest scandals in recent times.
Pramod is among 38 others whose deaths in different circumstances have been termed suspicious by many though state home minister Babulal Gaur has said they died of natural causes.
The special task force, which is probing the PEB scam, has taken up probe into 25 of these deaths.
The Sharmas received a big jolt when they received a call from police in Jhansi saying Pramod – the second youngest among five brothers – had committed suicide at a rented house.
“I knew it was not suicide. There were injury marks on his head and blood was dripping out of his ear. I am an Ayurvedic doctor but I know, this doesn’t happen when someone hangs himself to death,” Sharma told Hindustan Times at his house in Ambah, a small town in Morena district, around 500 km from Bhopal.
When Sharma expressed his doubts to police, they allegedly asked him to come back after 13 days to register his complaint.
“But when I went to Jhansi on the date they had asked me to come they refused to lodge an FIR, saying it was a suicide,” he said, adding that he also had to spend Rs 1,500 to procure a death certificate.
Since then, Sharma said, the STF has been after him. He alleged that a local police officer had even warned that if he missed the date for appearing before the STF then he could be arrested.
Sharma said that he was quizzed in Bhopal several times by STF officials who accused him of being aware of Pramod’s illegal acts.
“I told them Pramod had left Ambah after schooling in 2012 and I didn’t know what he was doing all this while but they insisted that I knew his friends and asked to name them. Had I told them about his friends in Ambah, I would have put them in trouble too. I was so much hassled that I only made a passing reference to my suspicion that Pramod might have been killed,” Sharma said.
“I no longer want a probe into Pramod’s death. I had enough,” he added.
Refusing to defend his brother, who according to him had fallen in bad company, the elder brother said if Pramod had helped so many candidates pass in PMT as alleged by police, he should at least have made some money, bought some property, done something for the family.
“His body was handed over to me in undergarments. Not even a currency note of Rs 100 was recovered from his house. I obviously have a question — where is the big scam money that he is accused to have made?”