The toll

Print edition : August 07, 2015

Journalists hold candles and photographs of Akshay Singh at a memorial meeting in Bangalore on July 6. He died after interviewing the family of a young woman who died after being found linked to the scam. Photo: Aijaz Rahi/AP

Though anywhere between 48 and 160 accused persons have been reported dead during the course of the VYAPAM scam investigation, the official number is 24. In its status report to the Madhya Pradesh High Court on June 26, the Special Task Force stated that 23 accused persons had died “unnatural deaths”. The very next day, one more, Narendra Singh Tomar, died in Indore Central Jail mysteriously, pushing the figure up to 24. Most of the deaths happened in Gwalior district, from where one of the main accused, Jagdish Sagar, operated. The STF said that those who died might have become important links in the case. Three middlemen have died in road accidents since 2010. A total of 11 accused persons have died in road accidents. Many medical students who had bought their seats in medical colleges and who later became middlemen died in mysterious circumstances. The police have also registered seven suicide cases.

Here is a list of some important accused persons whose deaths were seen as “highly suspicious”.

Namrata Damor. A medical student who secured admission through illegal means, died in 2012. The police called it suicide, but the doctor who performed the autopsy claimed that she had been murdered by smothering.

Akshay Singh. The Aaj Tak reporter was covering the VYAPAM scam when he suddenly collapsed after an interview with Namrata Damor’s family in Jhabua. His cameraperson says that he started frothing at the mouth before he collapsed. . He died at a hospital in Dahod in neighbouring Gujarat.

Dr D.K. Sakalley. The dean of Jabalpur Medical College committed suicide, according to the police. Newspapers reported that he was on leave to avoid pressure from students whose admissions were nullified when the scam broke out.

Dr Arun Sharma. He replaced Dr Sakalley and was assisting the STF’s investigation. He was found dead in a hotel room in Delhi.

Shailesh Yadav. He was Governor Ram Naresh Yadav’s son. An accused in the VYAPAM recruitment scam, he was found dead in the Governor’s official residence. His autopsy report was inconclusive.

Vijay Singh Patel. A pharmacist, he was found dead at Kanker at a Bharatiya Janata Party MLA’s lodge on April 28. The post-mortem showed the presence of poison in his body.

Narendra Singh Tomar. He was accused of arranging impersonators for the PMT. He reportedly died of a heart attack in Indore’s Central Jail, but his family refuted the cause of death and suspected foul play.

Rajendra Arya. An assistant professor at the Sagar Medical College, he was accused of helping students in their examinations. He died on June 28 at a hospital after complaints of vomiting and body ache.

Amit Sagar. Sagar, a veterinary student, was found dead near a pond in Sheopur, Madhya Pradesh. He died while the police were trying to locate him after he was named as a middleman by one of the persons arrested in the case.

Ajoy Ashirwad Mahaprashasta

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