Vyapam scam: STF acknowledges 25 deaths, CBI probes only 17

  • Shruti Tomar, Hindustan Times, Bhopal
  • Updated: Apr 22, 2016 16:37 IST
Vyapam has now been renamed Professional Examination Board. (HT file photo)

The Central Bureau of Investigation is only probing 17 deaths related to the Vyapam scam, despite the special task force (STF) acknowledging 25 scam-linked deaths before the Madhya Pradesh high court.

The Vyapam scam was an admission and recruitment scam of the Madhya Pradesh Professional Examination Board, also known as the Vyavsayik Pariksha Mandal, from where the board gets its acronym. Many politicians, senior officials and businessmen have been arrested or are accused of being part of the scam.

In its investigation, the CBI has registered preliminary inquiries in the 17 cases, which do not include the high profile cases of Narendra Singh Tomar, who died in Indore jail, and former Jabalpur medical college dean Dr DK Sakalle, who reportedly self immolated. CBI officials say they are only probing those cases which were handed over to them by the STF before Supreme Court.

Tomar, an assistant veterinary officer, reportedly died of heart attack on June 28, 2015. Narendra’s younger brother Vikram had raised a demand of CBI probe after the death.

”It is quite surprising for us to know that CBI is not probing the case related to my brother’s death. His death was not at all a natural one. He was killed in a conspiracy hatched in the jail. I met CBI officials but nothing happened. Now, I will move court,” he told HT.

Whistle blowers have also raised a question against the probe.

“Being a doctor, I have never seen a person suffering from a stomach ache has died of a heart attack 5-6 hours later. Narendra complained of stomach pain at 5 pm after consuming food in the jail. He was taken to hospital at 8 pm and he went there on his feet. At 11 pm, he died of cardiac arrest. I suspect he was given poison because he was healthy and physically fit ,” said Anand Rai, a whistle blower.

“Similarly, Dr Sakalle, as the dean of a medical college, must have known the easiest way of committing suicide, and it is unlikely he would like to immolate himself and die such a painful death,” he added.

“Government had ruled out any possibility of conspiracy in many other deaths related to Vyapam scam as they died a few years prior to the Vyapam scam coming to light. The complaints regarding these deaths had also been lodged in 2010. The issued was also raised in the state assembly in March 2011. The death of middlemen led to cutting off of important links in many cases. There is a need to probe efficiently every death related to Vyapam scam,” said Rai.

RTI activist Ajay Dubey accused the CBI of failing to live up to the expectations of the people. “We are raising questions against the way the CBI is investigating the scam. Neither are they registering new cases nor are they probing all the cases registered by STF... Despite the investigation in the past nine months, the CBI has failed to live up to the expectations of lakhs of people, who expect the agency to unearth the conspiracy behind the deaths,” he said.

“Our only hope is from the supreme sourt. Our lawyers will raise the issue before the apex court because we have lost our trust with the CBI,” he said.

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