A constable in Madhya Pradesh, who was to appear as a witness in the Vyapam scam, died two months ago, a Special Task Force told a court
A constable in Madhya Pradesh who was to appear as a witness in the Vyapam scam, died two months ago, a court was told on Wednesday. This takes the unusual death count in the admission and recruitment scandal to 36.
Sanjay Kumar Yadav was a resident of Uttar Pradesh and was to testify yesterday in the Jabalpur High Court against three accused persons. State government sources say he died of hepatitis and there was "nothing untoward" in the way he died.
On Tuesday, Justice Chandresh Bhushan, who is heading the investigation into the scam, agreed in an interview to NDTV that the number of deaths linked to the scam were abnormal. But he added that so far, the police's Special Task Force, has not found any reason to believe that the people who have died since 2012 were the victims of a cover-up, as alleged by the opposition Congress.
Those who have died include witnesses and accused; the causes range from road accidents to suicides, alcohol poisoning and heart attacks.
At least one of the deaths was assessed by doctors to be a murder. Namrata Damor, one of the accused in the scam, was found dead in 2012 on railway tracks. She had been strangled, said an autopsy report, but the police said in their report that she had committed suicide.
Fresh questions have been raised over Ms Damor's death after a journalist died suddenly last Saturday while interviewing her father. The dean of a medical college also died a day later, triggering calls for a probe by the Central Bureau of Investigation. Under pressure over the spate of deaths, Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan capitulated and asked for the inquiry to be reassigned to the CBI.
Nearly 2,000 people have been arrested since 2013 over the scandal in which thousands of people are alleged to have paid bribes in return for jobs on the state payroll or for places in educational institutes. Vyapam is the Hindi acronym for the state board that conducts tests for medical and engineering colleges as well as government jobs.