Mysterious deaths of dozens of people linked to the Vyapam scandal raise alarm all over India
Akshay Singh, a TV journalist, is among the latest people in the list of the dozen of bureaucrats, businessmen and politicians linked to the Vyapam scandal who have died mysteriously. Before his death, Singh spent almost an hour interviewing a family in the central India. According to his colleagues, Singh became unconscious and started producing foam through his mouth before falling from the chair that he was seating on. Singh died while being rushed to the nearby hospital.
A body of Arun Sharma, a college dean, was later found in the room of a hotel by the New Delhi police. These men are both linked to the mysterious suspicion web, scandal and death that has attracted the attention of the Indians nationally and prompted one minister to say that she fears for her life and the lives of the people who are close to her.
At the core of this issue is the high-profile corruption scandal that involved paying bribes for college admissions and jobs in Madhya Pradesh, a central state in India. In India, corruption is not something unusual. However, what is raising alarm in the Madhya Pradesh case is that individuals who are connected to the investigation of the alleged scandal by the state keep dying.
A former judge who is supervising the investigation by the state says that over two dozen individuals who are linked to this case have been killed over the last two years. Activists and opposition politicians in Madhya Pradesh allege that these deaths are almost double the count that has been reported officially.
Originally, majority of these deaths were attributed to different causes like suicide, road accidents and illness. There is no foul play evidence but most Indians are lost without knowing what they should believe. The federal government’s minister for water resources and former Madhya Pradesh chief minister, Umma Bhrati, said that despite being a minister he is scared.
The scandal dates back to 2007 and it has been linked to the latest deaths of the two men. It involved bribe-paying candidates, middlemen, bureaucrats and politicians. One colleague of Singh said that he was producing a choking sound before his death. His lips were quivering and one of his hands was stiff. According to the authorities, Singh did not show signs of external or internal injury. However, his body samples were sent to forensic experts for further analysis.
The India Today Group that the TV journalist was working for called for a thorough and independent investigation into the cause of his death. In Sharma’s death case, police do not suspect something untoward but a special medical autopsy board has been set up.
The investigation has a vast scale because over 2,500 people have been named as suspects of impersonation and forgery. However, 500 of these suspects are yet to be arrested or tracked down. The allegations in this scam are that candidates gave huge bribes to pass state jobs’ exams or to be admitted to the institutions of higher education. The scandal emerged in 2013 after the arrest of imposters during a medical test that the examination board in Madhya Pradesh conducted. In Hindi, the board is called Vyapam and it conducts exams for forest, education and police departments’ employments as well as engineering and medical colleges’ admission.