Vyapam scam: Cops say scribe death natural, autopsy report awaited

  • HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times, Bhopal/New Delhi
  • Updated: Jul 05, 2015 10:32 IST

An initial probe has revealed nothing suspicious about the death of Delhi-based television journalist Akshay Singh while investigating Madhya Pradesh's multi-layered recruitment and examination scam, police sources said on Sunday.

The exact cause of Singh's death will be known only when the report of his autopsy comes in, they said.

Singh, 35, from the Aaj Tak news channel, suddenly fell ill and died on Saturday while on an assignment to interview the family of a woman linked to the Madhya Pradesh Professional Examination Board (MPPEB) scam who had died in suspicious circumstances.

His sudden death caused a ripple as 38 people linked to the scam, including governor Ram Naresh Yadav's son Shailesh Yadav, have died mysteriously since it came to light in 2013.

A doctor who examined Singh's body told IBN Live on condition of anonymity: "We have done the post-mortem and didn't find any injuries. Viscera samples have been sent for analysis. We will be able to give the exact cause of death only after the report comes in."

Singh had travelled to Jhabua to meet the families of those who died mysteriously in the MPPEB or Vyapam case. On Saturday, he was interviewing the family of Namrata Domor, a 25-year-old medical college student who allegedly jumped to her death from a running train in 2012 and whose death sparked allegations that she was killed by influential people.

"While the interview was on, Akshay complained of uneasiness. He was taken to a local hospital, then to the district hospital and finally to nearby Dahod in Gujarat. He died by the time he got there," said Amit Kumar, bureau chief in Bhopal of Aaj Tak. A PTI report said Singh was frothing at the mouth.

Singh's colleagues said his death was suspicious. Fellow Aaj Tak reporter Arvind Ojha told HT he had spoken to him just half an hour before he took ill.

"We were working together on unearthing the scam. This morning we split up, he went to Indore and I came to Bhopal. He told me he was going to interview a victim's family. I told him to be careful. Half an hour later, he was dead," Ojha said.

"It's hard to believe a healthy person suddenly started to feel uneasy and died the next moment," Ojha said, adding Singh did not have any heart ailments, did not smoke or drink, and was "completely fit".

A statement by the TV Today group said, "Akshay Singh had been on assignment in Madhya Pradesh investigating the Vyapam scam for the past four days. The cause of his sudden demise is not yet clear… We hope doctors and law enforcement agencies are able to establish the cause of his death."

A special task force is probing 25 of the suspicious deaths and more than 2,000 people have been arrested.

Many politicians, bureaucrats and middlemen are said to be involved in the Vyapam scam - named after the Madhya Pradesh Vyavasayik Pariksha Mandal - which, according to police, involved scamsters employing imposters to write tests conducted by the board for admission and recruitment to various courses and government jobs.

The scamsters also rigged tests and supplied forged answer sheets by bribing officials between 2012 and 2013.

Read: Mysterious deaths linked to MPPEB scam

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