news Monday, June 29, 2015 - 05:30
  On Saturday night, Narendra Singh Tomar, who had been in the Indore jail since February this year for his alleged involvement in the MPPEB scam, complained of chest pain. He was later admitted in the ICU unit of the Maharaja Yashwant Rao Hospital, where he died. A veterinarian, 29-year-old Tomar is the latest addition to the list of people, linked to the MPPEB or Vyapam scam, to have died under mysterious circumstances. Another accused in the scam, Dr Rajendra Arya (40) died of liver infection in a Gwalior hospital on Sunday. Arya was out on bail. According to reports, 25 accused and witnesses in the scam have died so far. However, the opposition alleges that number is as high as 40. There are almost 2,000 accused in the scam, which includes scores of high ranking officials and also politicians in the Madhya Pradesh government. Around 1,900 are reportedly in jail and 500 said to be absconding. Speaking to The News Minute, Anand Rai, an activist and one of the principal whistle blowers in the scam, alleged that Tomar’s is a case of custodial death.  “After he complained of pain in his chest, they took him to a hospital only the next day. Since doctors were striking on that day, Tomar was made to walk to the ICU instead of being taken in a stretcher or wheelchair. This is a case of custodial death,” Rai says. Rai also says that the number of deaths of people linked to the scam under suspicious circumstances is 45. “Most of the accused or witnesses who have died so far were directly linked to the scam. But there are also many who were indirectly linked to the scam and have died under similar situations too,” he says. Shailesh Yadav, son of Madhya Pradesh Governor and former Uttar Pradesh chief minister Ram Naresh Yadav, was found dead under mysterious circumstances at his father's residence in Lucknow in March this year. 50-year-old Shailesh Yadav had been charged with taking bribe from 10 applicants appearing for the contractual teachers' examination in Madhya Pradesh. He reportedly was under severe stress in the weeks prior to his death. Pharmacist Vijay Singh, a key accused who was linked to several high-profile suspects in the MPPEB scam, was found dead under mysterious circumstances in the Kanker district of Chhattisgarh in April this year. His body had been found inside a BJP MLA's lodge in Kanker town on April 28 and the last call from his phone has been made to his lawywr in Bhopal on April 17, states a The Times of India report.  Rai and other activists are now demanding for a Special Investigation Team (SIT) to be set up to probe the scam. They also demand a CBI inquiry into the massive scam, but Chief Minister Singh Chouhan is opposed to it saying the state police is handling the case properly.  The Congress has alleged that the CM’s family members were involved in the Pre medical entrance test (PMT) scam from which they are said to have heavily benefited.  They have also alleged that the CM’s name had been removed from documents which had been seized from accused Nitin Mahindra's computer. DK Sakale, Dean of Jabalpur’s Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose Medical College, was found dead  in his official bungalow with 90% burn injuries in July 2014. Though initial reports suggested that it was a case of suicide, no suicide note had been found. Sakale, who reportedly had a clean track record, took action against some MMBS students who had taken admission to the college through corrupt means, states a report by Hindustan Times.  Referring to Sakale’s death, Rai questions why a man would burn himself in the middle of his lawn. He also said that though many burn victims survive for a few hours and some even give their statement to the magistrate, Sakale had been found dead almost instantly. Rai also pointed out the improper implementation of the Whistleblowers’ Protection Act, which makes it difficult for activist such as him to work against corruption. “Ashish Chaturvedi’s (an activist) guard was changed 70 times. My wife was  recently suspended from her job. They consider whistleblowers as enemies,” he says. Though the high-profile scam came to light a few years ago, and a lot of dirt has been unearthed since, it looks like it will take time before the perpetrators are brought to justice. As for those linked to the massive scam, the reports suggest a rather scary message is being given out. As Rai says, “This is a Rs 50,000 crore industry spread across several states in the country. The people running it or profiting from it are powerful.” Backgrounder The MPPEB also known as the  Madhya Pradesh Vyavsayik Pariksha Mandal (Vyapam) has the responsibility of conducting entrance tests for admission to various colleges and jobs in Madhya Pradesh.  The Vyapam scam pertains to manipulation in the selection process for government jobs conducted by MPPEB which came to light after a report by the Madhya Pradesh Local Fund Audit office for 2007-08 found alleged financial and administrative irregularities, including unauthorized disposal of application forms, worth crores of rupees by the MPPEB.  
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