DeQoded: Vyapam Scam ‘Mysteriously’ Claims More Than 40 Lives
DeQoded: Here’s everything you wanted to know about Vyapam Scam in Madhya Pradesh.
What is the Scam?
The Madhya Pradesh Vyavsayik Pariksha Mandal (Vyapam) or MP Professional Exam Board (MPPEB), an autonomous body under the directorate of technical education conducts exams for admission into medical and engineering colleges. MPPEB also holds the recruitment exams for various state government jobs. The Vyapam scam involves the forgery, impersonation, bribery and cheating committed by the board officials in this process of the selection of candidates.
The scam was unearthed with the arrest of few impersonators in July 2013 who had appeared for the original candidates in PMT. The focus of the investigation is now on the admissions secured between 2009-2013. Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chauhan has already admitted in the Assembly that 1000 fraudulent recruitments and selections were made by MPPEB between 2007-14. The scam involves an estimated transaction of money to the tune of Rs 2000cr.
The Special Task Force (STF) is investigating the case along with the Special Investigation Team (SIT) headed by retired HC judge Chandresh Bhushan. The Madhya Pradesh High Court had formed the SIT in November 2014. The STF had booked 720 students and parents by March 2015 in 850 cases registered in the scam. While hearing a petition demanding CBI probe into the matter, the Supreme Court in March 2015 asked the STF to finish investigation in four months.
Enforcement Directorate Investigation
The Enforcement Directorate began the investigation into transaction of money under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act in March 2014. The ED has booked MPPEB exam controller Pankaj Trivedi and 25 others including former MP Higher Education Minister Laxmikant Sharma. The ED attached properties worth over Rs 3 crores in the name of Jagdish Sagar, an alleged mastermind of this scam, in April this year.
The High Profile Links
From the Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan’s relatives to his ex Cabinet colleagues to the Governor Ram Naresh Yadav, the scam has all high profile names involved. Ex Cabinet Minister Laxmikant Sharma is behind the bars since June 2014. MP Governor Ram Naresh Yadav resigned in February 2015 after the STF named him in FIR. The High Court later squashed the case citing Governor’s immunity.
Although the STF has submitted before the court that around 24 accused and witnesses have died so far, the activists claim that at least 40 have been dead.
Death of an accused Namrata Damor was the first such case to come out. Damor’s body was found on rail tracks in Ujjain in 2012.
Sailesh Yadav, an accused in the scam and son of former MP Governor Ram Naresh Yadav was found dead at his Lucknow residence in March this year.
Narendra Singh Tomar, another accused in the high-profile MPPEB scam, died under mysterious circumstances in an Indore district jail, adding another murky chapter to the scandal.
Within first five days of the month of July, two deaths related to the Vyapam scam were reported. TV journalist Akshay Singh, a reporter from India Today’s Aaj Tak, was found frothing from his mouth while he was interviewing a person related to the case.
On Sunday morning, July 5, the Dean of Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose Medical College in Jabalpur, Dr Arun Kumar, was found dead in a room in Uppal Hotel near Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International airport. He was chairing the committee appointed to weed out fake doctors appointed through Vyapam.
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