Barely few hours after the Supreme Court agreed to hear the set of petitions demanding CBI probe in ‘Vyapam’ scam and number of mystery deaths linked with it, the Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan conceded and announced the recommendation of a CBI investigation in Vyapam scam.
“Honouring public sentiments, I will request the high court to order a CBI probe,” the CM said before the packed press conference adding that “the functioning of the government should be beyond any doubt”.
More than 40 mysterious deaths have taken place in a massive admission and recruitment scam involving politicians from the ruling BJP in Madhya Pradesh, senior officials and businessmen. Till now, the Special Task Force (STF) under supervision of SIT was probing the scam.
Earlier on Tuesday, Supreme Court had the date of set 9th July for hearing a batch of Public Interest Litigations (PILs) seeking CBI probe in the scam. The PILs were filed by a group of lawyers and activists from Madhya Pradesh. Congress general secretary and former CM of Madhya Pradesh Digvijaya Singh too had filed a PIL in the same.
The matter has assumed serious proportions after the spate of death of those linked with the scam. On Monday, two more people were found dead in two different districts of Madhya Pradesh. And with the opposition Congress party claiming that both the deaths were connected with Vyapam, the pressure on the BJP-run state government was building up even more.
First, a 25-year-old woman trainee sub-inspector, who incidentally got into the police force through an exam conducted by Vyapam, was found dead in the lake adjacent to the Police Training Academy (PTA) in Sagar district headquarters. And in the evening, a 40-year-old constable Ramakant Panda was found hanging from a ceiling fan at his residence in Orchha, near Jhansi. Local Congress leaders have claimed that the deceased constable had once been questioned by the STF probing Vyapam case.
The two deaths on Monday had come hot on the heels of mystery deaths of the Dean of Jabalpur medical college and a Delhi based journalist Akshay Singh, who was working on an investigative story concerning Vyapam scam.
Dean of Jabalpur medical college, Dr. Arun Sharma, who was said to be probing fake examinees in the scam, was found dead in a Delhi hotel early on Sunday. Dr. Sharma had taken over as the Dean of college just one year ago after the mystery death of the then Dean DK Sakalle. Like Dr. Sharma, Mr. Sakalle, too was inquiring into admissions of candidates for whom proxies had allegedly appeared in the Pre-Medical Test (PMT). Sakalle was found burnt at his residence.
And on Saturday, Akshay Singh, a journalist working with a leading news channel based in the national capital Delhi had died under mysterious circumstances in Jhabua town of Madhya Pradesh while working on the story of Vyapam scam. 38 year old Singh collapsed soon after interviewing the parents of one of the victims, who too was found dead after her name figured in the massive admission and recruitment scandal.
Last week too, the two accused named in the scam, Narendra Singh Tomar and Dr. Rajendra Arya, had died in mysterious circumstances.
And in a surprising development on Monday evening, senior BJP leader and Union minister Uma Bharti, who had once served as the Chief Minister of the state, claimed that she too is “scared” by the number of deaths.
“There is panic in Madhya Pradesh due to the deaths. I am scared for the lives of people connected to me. I am a minister but still I am scared. I will convey my fears to CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan,” Uma Bharti told the press.
She further claimed that she was the first person to have suggested a CBI probe into the scandal.
“I was named in the FIR as per an accused’s version. This is unfair. I am shocked that my name has been dragged into this. I was the first to suggest a CBI probe,” she added.
(With inputs from the PTI)