An accused in the Madhya Pradesh Professional Examination Board (MPPEB) scam, also known as the Vyapam scam, died on Saturday. This takes to 24 the number of people named in the scam who have died so far.
Narendra Singh Tomar, 29, who had been in jail since February 24, died of a “heart attack” during treatment at Indore’s M Y Hospital Saturday. Family members alleged foul play behind the sudden death of the veterinarian, who reportedly spoke to his sister over phone around 4 pm the same day.
“He was normal and did not complain of any discomfort,” his younger brother Vikram Singh told The Indian Express. He also demanded a CBI probe into the death.
Tomar, who hailed from Porsa in Morena district, was accused of arranging a “solver” for a candidate in an examination conducted by the MPPEB in Indore four years ago.
Vyapam, or MPPEB, is an autonomous body that conducts recruitment tests for various posts as well as admission to professional courses. Investigators have established that proxies appeared in the examinations with the connivance of officials and middlemen.
Posted in Raisen, Tomar was arrested by the Indore Police and lodged in Indore district jail.
District jail superintendent R C Bhati said Tomar complained of chest pain around 11.15 pm. Medical staff in the jail attended to him and referred him to M Y Hospital.
“We have video footage that shows he was normal when he walked out of jail,” Bhati said. “He had two heart attacks in the hospital.” Bhati also claimed there were no injury marks on his body.
Jail authorities suggested that an ongoing strike by junior doctors in Indore could have contributed to a delay in treating Tomar.
Vikram, posted in Ujjain as teacher, said his sister had spoken to Narendra earlier in the day and he sounded normal.
The Special Task Force (STF), which took over the investigation a few months after the scam came to light in July 2013, recently told the high court that 23 persons named in various cases had died “unnatural deaths”. Seven deaths took place outside Madhya Pradesh.
The probe agency said most of these deaths took place before it took over the investigation.
The STF is yet to take over the investigation in the 23 cases. The high court said the decision will be taken in consultation with a Special Investigation Team, headed by a former high court judge and formed by the HC to monitor the probe.
Indore-based whistleblower Anand Rai, who played a key role in exposing the scam, has alleged the number of suspicious deaths could be more. He also claimed the deaths were intended to ensure that investigators don’t reach the real culprits.
The most high profile person to die was Governor Ram Naresh Yadav’s son Shailesh Yadav. Shailesh, who was found dead at his home in Lucknow in March, was accused of taking money to help 10 candidates from Bhind clear the examination for contractual teachers.
The exchange of money allegedly took place in Raj Bhavan, Bhopal. The Governor was also named as an accused in another case but the court gave him relief saying he enjoys constitutional immunity as long as he is in office.