Vyapam scam is a massive admission and recruitment scam involving politicians, senior officials and businessmen in the state of Madhya Pradesh in India. Madhya Pradesh Professional Examination Board (MPPEB), popularly known by its Hindi acronym “Vyapam”, is a government body responsible for conducting several entrance tests in the state. These entrance tests are used for recruitment to government jobs and for admissions to educational institutes in the state.
The scam involved a collusion of undeserving candidates, who bribed politicians and MPPEB officials through middlemen, to get high ranks in these entrance tests.
- The Vyapam scam in Madhya Pradesh dates back to 2007, with investigations in the case starting after some details came to light in 2013.
- Officers of the Madhya Pradesh Professional Examination Board (Vyavsayik Pareeksha Mandal, or Vyapam) were found to have been rigging a variety of eligibility tests for courses and recruitments for close to six years, perhaps for an even longer period.
- The State police have arrested some 2,000 people, and are looking for about 700 more. Those allegedly involved include politicians and bureaucrats across the board, as well as the office of Governor Ram Naresh Yadav.
- The scale of the scandal was shocking enough but it largely escaped national attention until recent reports brought to light a particularly disturbing set of developments — more than 40 of the accused persons or witnesses in the case have died, according to media reports.
- The State government’s Special Investigation Team recently admitted before the Madhya Pradesh High Court that 23 of these were ‘unnatural’ deaths. Many of the dead were between the age of 25 and 30, and ‘road accidents’ were cited as the leading cause of death. It all points to serious and persisting foul play.
- The facts indicate significant lapses on the part of the State government. To begin with, the case is being investigated by a special task force that answers directly to Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan and it seems to have no answers for the spate of suspicious deaths.
- The details of deaths are as under:
|Date of death||Name||Role||Circumstances of death|
|21-Nov-09||Vikas Singh Thakur||Middleman in PMT scam||Died in Barwani due to illness and adverse drug reaction|
|12-Jun-10||Shyamvir Yadav||Middleman in PMT scam from Gwalior||Died in Raisen in a road mishap|
|14-Jun-10||Anshul Sachan||Middleman in PMT scam from Hoshangabad||Died in Raisen in a road mishap|
|14-Jun-10||Anuj Uikey||Middleman in PMT scam from Mandla||Died in Raisen in a road mishap|
|2010||Gyan Singh||Middleman in PMT scam from Bhind||Died in Gwalior; Alcohol-related illness|
|2010||Deepak Verma||Middleman in PMT scam||Died in Indore in a road mishap|
|Jan-12||Namrata Damor||A native of Meghnaghar in Jhabua, 25-year old Namrata was a first year student of MGM Medical College, Indore.Her death was initially ruled as a suicide in 2012. However, in 2014, her name appeared in the list of students who had cleared PMT-2010 using unfair means. Her friend Vishal Verma’s name also appeared in the list of candidates who had been impersonated by other students in PMT-2009. Both the students had successfully applied for a transfer from G R Medical College in Gwalior to MGM Medical College in Indore. According to her father Mehtab Singh Damor, Vishal had helped her get this transfer. According to Dr Anand Rai, a whistleblower who exposed the PMT irregularties, she could have been sexually exploited by the masterminds of the scam. Namrata’s family claimed that they had an argument with the scam’s kingpin Jagdish Sagar and his gang a few days before her disappearance. They had met Jagdish Sagar through Gangaram Pipliya, who was also chargesheeted in the scam. According to them, Vishal was a conduit of Jagdish Sagar.||Namrata went missing on 7 January, soon after her results were declared. Unable to reach her on mobile phone, her brother Omprakash arrived in Indore to inquire her. He lodged a missing person complaint on 12 January. On the same day Namrata went missing, the police had found a mutilated dead body close to the railway tracks near Maksi in Ujjain district. A ticket reserved for 7 January in Indore-Bilaspur Express was also found with the body, but there was no other identification. The police had buried the body after performing an autopsy, and put up its photograph at Ujjain railway station. On 29 January, Omprakash identified the body as that of her sister based on the photograph. In autopsy, semen was found on her body. Four men were subjected to DNA test to match semen samples collected from her clothes. One of these was Vishal Verma, who had called her several times on her mobile minutes before she died. Vishal’s sample allegedly matched with the sample collected from Namrata’s clothes, but he was let off after an investigation. The police suspected that she had committed suicide by jumping off the train, because her father had scolded her over her friendship with a boy he disapproved of. This was in January 2012, when the MPPEB scam had not been exposed fully. However, in 2014, both Namrata and Vishal’s names appeared in the list of student suspects in the scam, leading to suspicions of foul play. Namrata’s family claimed that she had been murdered and her dead body was dumped on the railway tracks.|
|25-Oct-12||Aditya Chaudhary (alias Ravi Pippal)||Middleman in PMT scam||Died in Sagar; Suicide|
|07-Nov-12||Anant Ram Tagore||Got son admitted through PMT scam||Died in Morena; Cancer|
|28-Nov-12||Arvind Shakya||Middleman in PMT scam||Died in Gwalior in a road mishap|
|21-Apr-13||Rinku alias Pramod Sharma||Middleman in Police Constable Scam||Died in Jhansi; Suicide by hanging|
|12-May-13||Kuldeep Marawi||Middleman in PMT scam||Died in Mandla in a road mishap|
|17-May-13||Premlata Pandey||Accused in Contract Teachers’ scam; a student and a resident of Nehrunagar, Bhopal||Died in Rewa; Liver Cancer|
|10-Aug-13||Ashutosh Tiwari||Middleman in PMT scam||Died in Tikamgarh; Alcohol-related Illness|
|15-Sep-13||Tarun Machhar||Student Accused in PMT scam||Died in Ratlam in a road mishap|
|09-Oct-13||Anand Singh Yadav||Middleman in PMT scam, from Fatehpur||Died in Raisen in a road mishap|
|26-Dec-13||Devendra Nagar||Middleman in Police Constable Recruitment scam||Died in Bhind in a road mishap|
|21-Jan-14||Bunty Sikarwar||Middleman in PMT scam||Died in Gwalior; Suicide|
|Jan-15||Lalit Golaria||Student accused in PMT fraud||Body found under a bridge in Morena|
|15-Jan-15||Ramendra Singh Bhadoria||A 30-year old medical student of the Gajra Raja Medical College, Bhadoria was booked in the scam in January 2015. He was accused of using unfair means to clear PMT 2009, using an unknown impersonator. A college committee had recommended his termination.||He found hanging at his home in Gwalior a few days after an FIR was registered against him. The Gwalior police claimed that he committed suicide due to a failed love affair. However, his family members stated that he was being “mentally tortured” by scamsters to keep quiet. His mother also committed suicide by consuming acid a week later.|
|01-Feb-14||Deepak Jain||Middleman in PMT scam||Died in Gwalior in a road mishap|
|14-Feb-14||Dinesh Jatav||Middleman in PMT scam||Died in Morena in a road mishap|
|20-Apr-14||Vikas Pandey||Middleman in PMT scam||Died in Allahabad; Brain haemorrhage|
|15-Jun-14||Ravindra Pratap Singh||Student accused in PMT scam||Died in Singrauli; Suspected suicide by poisoning|
|04-Jul-14||Dr. D.K. Sakalley||He was the dean of Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose Medical College, Jabalpur. Before his death, he had gone on a 30-day medical leave, to avoid pressure from students who had been sacked in connection with the scam.||He is believed to have immolated himself in a garden behind his house. He had been suffering from depression. A suicide note was repoted to have been recovered, but hte police didn’t confirm it to be a case of suicide on the basis that the dean had died under suspicious conditions.|
|13-Jul-14||Narendra Rajput||Middleman in PMT scam from Mahoba||Died in Jhansi; Illness|
|Feb-15||Amit Sagar||A veterinary student in Mhow, Amit Sagar was named by the prime accused Indrajeet Bhushan in the case.||After Bhushan implicated Sagar in the scam, the police tried to contact him. However, they found that he was already dead: his body was found in a pond inSheopur district.|
|25-Mar-15||Shailesh Yadav||50-year old Shailesh was the son of MP’s Governor and Congress leader Ram Naresh Yadav. According to one Veerpal Yadav, he allegedly fixed the recruitment of 10 candidates as Grade III teachers. Veerpal told the STF that he handed over a list of 10 candidates and Rs 3 lakh to his friend Vijay Pal, who forwarded them to Shailesh Yadav at Raj Bhavan.||50-year old Yadav was found dead at Governor’s official residence in Lucknow. According to his family, he was a diabetes patient and was under stress after being named in the scam; the cause of his death appeared to be brain haemorrhage. The family didn’t suspect any foul play in the death, and called it a natural death. The autopsy was inconclusive and could not ascertain the cause of his death.|
|28-Apr-15||Vijay Singh Patel||A pharmacist posted at Shajapur District Jail, Vijay Singh was arrested for his alleged role in three cases related to the scam. He was cleared in one of these cases, and released on bail in February 2015. Subsequently, he was summouned by STF in a fourth case related to police constable recruitment examination. Based on Vijay Singh’s statement, STF had arrested the brother-in-law of minister Laxmikant Sharma’s OSD O P Shukla||Around mid-April, Vijay Singh visited Kanker to meet his wife Reena, who worked in the school education department there. According to his brother Abhay, he had taken a train from Raipur (nearest railway station) to Bhopal on 16 April. He had called his laywer at Raipur station on that day. He again called the lawyer on 17 April, informing that he would meet him in two hours. According to Abhay, this indicates that Vijay was already in Bhopal on 17 April. He went missing a few hours before he was scheduled to appear before the STF at the Bhopal special court. His mobile phone was switched off, and his family members had intimated his disappearance to STF. His body was found on 28 April in Kanker, in a lodge run by a BJP MLA. The lodge employees told the police that Singh had checked in on April 24, and the again on April 27. He had asked them to wake him up on the morning of April 28, so that he could catch a train to Bhopal. When he did not open his door, the lodge staff informed the police. The police found his dead body, and suspected suicide as the door was bolted from inside and the postmortem report mentioned that poison was found in his body. However, Singh’s family members suspected that he had been killed as part of a larger conspiracy. They pointed out that no suicide note or poison were found in the room, and claimed that the lodge had an open window from which a killer could have escaped.|
|28-Jun-15||Narendra Singh Tomar||29-year-old Tomar was posted as an Assistant Veterinary Officer at Raisen before being arrested. He was accused of arranging imposters to replace the genuine candidates.||In Indore jail, he complained of chest pain around 11:15 pm. He was taken to Maharaja Yashwant Rao Hospital, where he was declared brought dead. He is said to have died of a heart attack, but his family members alleged foul play. According to his younger brother, he spoke to his sister around 4 pm and did not complain of any discomfort.|
|28-Jun-15||Rajendra Arya||40-year old Arya was out on bail in the case||Died at a hospital in Gwalior due to liver infection.|
|04-Jul-15||Akshay Singh||A journalist with Aaj Tak, 38-year old Akshay Singh was covering the Vyapam scam.||Akshay Singh suffered a heart attack while interviewing Mehtab Singh, father of Namrata Damor, in her native village near Meghnagar. According to Mehtab, Singh came to his house at 1 pm, and had a glass of water and a cup of tea. After half an hour, he began coughing and foaming in the mouth. He was first taken to the Meghnagar community health centre, and then to a private hospital, where he died. The autopsy suggested that it was a natural death, but the Congress party suspected foul play in his death and demanded an investigation.|
|05-Jul-15||Arun Kumar||Arun Kumar had replaced Dr. D.K. Sakalley as the dean of the NS Medical College (Jabalpur), after the latter’s death. He was assisting the STF by providing documents on fake medical entrance examinees.||Two months after taking over as the dean, he was found dead at a Delhi hotel the morning after he arrived there. He was supposed to go to Agartala, as part of an inspection team of Delhi-based Medical Council of India.|
|06-Jul-15||Anamika Kushwaha||Trainee Sub Inspector who was recruited through VyapamScam in 2014 Batch.||Found dead under mysterious circumstances on a lake in Sagar district ofMadhya Pradesh.|
Sources: The Hindu and Wikipedia