Vyapam scam kingpin Jagdish Sagar has been greedy and money-minded since childhood, allege close family members and people of his village in Madhya Pradesh’s Bhind district.
They say they were the first victims of Jagdish, 42, who didn't spare even his near and dear ones in a mad rush to acquire wealth. Jagdish, a native of Chiraintha village in Bhind, would offer monetary help to his family members as a hard bargain—Take money in lieu of land. And now he owns as much as 35 bighas of his relatives’ land, says Jagdish’s father Barelal Sagar, adding, “He forced relatives to transfer their land even for a meager financial help of Rs 15000.”
Jagdish, who himself cracked the medical entrance test through illegal means, surprised even the scam investigators in 2013. The latter described him as a showoff, who slept on a bed of currency , flaunted gold chain with a diamond pendent, loved vintage wine and maintained a fleet of expensive cars by running a Munnabhai racket (the term is popularly used for a racket which helps aspirants crack medical entrance through proxy candidates).
His younger brother Vijay, 30, says Jagdish never cared about what and how others would think, feel or suffer after his greedy bargains. It seemed his only aim had been to acquire land from those who were passing through a bad financial patch, he says.
Vijay says he never had a good relationship with his brother and often avoided any interaction with him as he disliked Jagdish’s domineering, landlord-like attitude. “Once I asked for a small amount of money. But, he asked me how will I return it and who will return it if I died?” Vijay breaks down recounting the incident and says, “Had it been somebody else in my place, he would have committed suicide. Jagdish even took my father’s land and literally made me work as a labourer in others’ fields for a living.”
His father Barelal seconds Vijay and says, “He (Jagdish) forced me to transfer even the five bighas of land owned by me, promising me a better land somewhere else. But, it has never happened.
He didn’t even seek the consent of his brother Vijay, who is the owner of half the land.” He says Jagdish visits the village once in a year but avoids meeting his family.
A villager Bhurelal even alleges that “every inch of the village land is registered in his name.” His acts were not confined to his family members alone, says another resident of the village on condition of anonymity.
In 2003, Jagdish opened Om Astha Swastha Niketan in Gohad, hardly a kilometre from his native village, after becoming a doctor. He asked poor villagers to deposit Rs 400 each for free treatment the entire year. "Through this scheme, he swindled lakhs from the poor people of the the region," say Vijay and other villagers.
Pushpendra Singh Tomar,54, a resident of Aindori, about three kilometres from Chiraintha, says, “I too had deposited the money. Later, the hospital was closed. Many people told me that he took away their money too. But, the victims chose not to report the matter to the police as the amount was not much."