A Vyapam case in Gwalior claims 9 lives, cops say no foul play
As many as nine people accused in a particular case in the Vyapam scam have died since 2007, it has emerged now, thickening the plot in the multi-layered exam-rigging scandal in Madhya Pradesh.Updated: Aug 02, 2015 07:25 IST
As many as nine people accused in a particular case in the Vyapam scam have died since 2007, it has emerged now, thickening the plot in the multi-layered exam-rigging scandal in Madhya Pradesh.
The case, number 449/13, is registered at the Jhansi Road police station in Gwalior and relates to impersonations in pre-medical tests (PMTs) conducted by the MP Professional Examination Board (MPPEB), known by its Hindi acronym Vyapam. The tests were held in 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2010.
The scam saw racketeers help candidates rig exams for admission in medical colleges and government jobs. In the PMT racket, candidates allegedly paid up to Rs 50 lakh for a medical seat.
Read:Supreme Court gives CBI 3 weeks to take over Vyapam cases
Though Gwalior police ruled out any foul play in the deaths, attributing them to road accidents, suicides and even excessive drinking (see box), eight of these nine cases have been taken up by Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) for preliminary enquiries over the last fortnight.
The opposition Congress and whistle-blowers say that the mysterious death of several people linked to the scam was part of a conspiracy to silence key witnesses.
The CBI took up probe into the scam last month while hearing a petition filed by Congress leader Digvijaya Singh and other whistle-blowers.
“After the controversy over the deaths, we revisited the cases but did not find anything suspicious,” said Virendra Jain, Gwalior additional superintendent of police.
Sources, however, said that the deaths appeared suspicious since they are linked to a single case and that the CBI might be investigating this pattern.
CBI spokesperson Kanchan Prasad told HT that preliminary enquiries have been launched into the deaths where requisite information has been gathered.
Till now the CBI has registered preliminary enquiries into 17 Vyapam-linked deaths of which eight are in case number 449/13.
Whistle-blower Ashish Chaturvedi said that majority of the deaths were due to accidents, suicides and other strange causes.
“Though all of them might not be murders, but I am sure that if the CBI investigates the case thoroughly, it might be found that many of these persons were killed by racketeers to wipe out the links. They did not die naturally.”
There are in all 190 accused in the case and most of them have already been arrested, according to police records.
The first of the deaths linked to this case was reported in year 2007 when Jitendra Yadav, a resident of Mahoba in Uttar Pradesh, drowned in Orchha.
The latest death was reported almost exactly eight years later on June 28, 2015, when Rajendra Arya, a Gwalior-based doctor died apparently of liver failure due to excessive drinking.