“I fear for my life,” says Prashant Pandey, who hogged headlines after becoming the whistleblower who exposed the ‘Vyapam scam’, involving alleged irregularities in government job recruitments in Madhya Pradesh. Pandey, a digital forensics expert, is cautious about anything and everything after Delhi Police withdrew the security cover provided to him at the instruction of Delhi High Court.
The reason cited by Delhi Police for withdrawing security was that Pandey’s petition has been disposed of and, in the final order, there was no mention of any security to be provided to him, a Delhi Police official said.
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The high court, in its February 20 order, had directed the SHO of Malviya Nagar police station to provide security to Pandey after he said that he fears for his life as he feels a threat from “influential people in power” in Madhya Pradesh government and state police force.
“There is no security from Delhi Police. The security personnel have been withdrawn. I fear for my security and for my family,” Pandey told PTI. After his expose, Madhya Pradesh Police had registered a case naming high-profile politicians. Eight witnesses and accused allegedly involved in the case have been found dead in mysterious circumstances, including the son of Madhya Pradesh Governor Ram Naresh Yadav, Shailesh.
Left with no choice, Pandey has turned to Supreme Court, where he has filed a petition seeking security cover and a thorough probe into the scam as he claims that only five per cent of irregularities have been exposed so far and much remains to be probed in the Madhya Pradesh Professional Examination Board (MPPEB) or Vyapam scam.
Pandey, who hails from Indore in Madhya Pradesh, has been living in the national capital. He recently had a miraculous escape when his car was hit by a truck on the Indore-Mhow road earlier this month. “My car was hit by a truck. My family was also travelling with me. I have lodged a complaint with Indore police,” he said.
A Madhya Pradesh High Court-appointed Special Investigation Team (SIT) is supervising the probe by the state’s Special Task Force (STF) into the scam, in which the role of some of the senior state government officials and politicians has come under the scanner.
Pandey was also arrested by Bhopal Police in August last year for allegedly being in possession of Call Data Records (CDRs) of many individuals. He had later secured bail. Pandey has claimed that a senior IPS officer and other state police officials framed him to avoid naming of certain people in the scam.
Complaints of irregularities and deals in the pre-medical test (PMT) had kept coming since 2009 but, in 2013, a major scam in recruitments by MPPEB was unearthed, which allegedly involved several officials and politicians belonging to the ruling party in the state, BJP. Madhya Pradesh government has accused Pandey of “playing into the hands of people with political affiliation”.
The state government in its reply filed in the matter in Delhi High Court had earlier said that the petitioner has a criminal background.