Madhya Pradesh chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan on Monday said it was not right to link every death with the Vyapam scam as the opposition pitched for his removal after the body of a trainee sub-inspector was found in a pond in Sagar.
The 25-year-old trainee, who got into the police force through an exam conducted by the scandal-hit state recruitment board, apparently committed suicide. But her death triggered outrage as the opposition linked it to a spate of mysterious deaths of witnesses, whistle-blowers, accused and beneficiaries in the scandal involving the Madhya Pradesh Professional Examination Board (PEB), popularly known by its Hindi acronym Vyapam.
“Her death is an unfortunate incident but it is not related to the Vyapam scam investigation. Every death is sad,” Chouhan said.
His comments came before Union home minister Rajnath Singh ruled out a CBI probe, saying a Madhya Pradesh high court-monitored special investigating team (SIT) was already investigating the allegations.
“An SIT is investigating this. The SIT is not working under Madhya Pradesh government but under the supervision of the high court. Politics should be based on valid and reasonable issues,” Singh said in Jhabua. “We cannot direct the Supreme Court or the high court.”
On Sunday, Chouhan said he was ready to face any consequence as he battled the biggest challenge to his third term in the state’s top post: the Vyapam scam that apparently involves politicians, officials and businessmen.
His cabinet colleagues, too, came out in his defence as state forest minister Gaurishankar Shejwar on Monday tried to dismiss the mysterious deaths, saying none of the 25 people on the government’s list of dead had any direct link to the scam.
Video:CM says every death should not be linked to Vyapam scam
Shejwar, who held the health and medical education portfolios earlier, said no circumstantial evidence was available to suggest the 25 deaths were related to the PEB.
The senior minister said the death of medical student Namrata Damor in 2012, an alleged beneficiary of the scam, has nothing to do with the scam. His comments were viewed as an attempt to deflect the heat following the sudden death of TV journalist Akshay Singh, who had interviewed the Damor’s family just before he collapsed and died.
Government spokesman and health minister Narottam Mishra rebutted allegations of a sinister plot in the spate of deaths linked to the PEB scam, especially Arun Sharma, the 64-year-old dean of a medical college in Jabalpur, who died at a hotel in Delhi on Sunday.
Sharma was conducting a probe on behalf of the Medical Council of India, following reports of rigged pre-medical tests conducted by PEB.
“Trainee sub-inspector Anamika Kushwaha and Arun Sharma, the dean of Jabalpur medical college, weren’t witnesses or accused in the scam.
Kushwaha’s father has said she was having domestic problems. But the Congress is trying to unnecessarily link the deaths to Vyapam,” Mishra said.