The whistle-blowers

Print edition : August 07, 2015

Anand Rai, main whistle-blower in the VYAPAM scam. Photo: V. Sudershan

Ashish Kumar Chaturvedi (right) and Prashant Pandey. Photo: Sushil Kumar Verma

Dr Anand Rai. Despite being a member of the BJP and an RSS pracharak, Indore-based Dr Anand Rai has been at the forefront of exposing the VYAPAM scandal. He has been complaining to the police about fraudulent admissions since 2009 and is considered to have tipped off the police about impersonators staying in an Indore hotel in 2013. The raid blew the lid off the scam. He filed a public interest litigation (PIL) petition in the Madhya Pradesh High Court on fraudulent admissions. He also exposed the illegal drug trials at the Mahatma Gandhi Memorial Medical College, Indore, in 2012. He says the State government has been victimising him and his family ever since he blew the whistle. He has also been receiving threat calls since 2013.

Paras Saklecha. A former independent legislator from Ratlam in Madhya Pradesh, Saklecha has been raising the issue of fake admissions in the pre-medical test (PMT) in the State Assembly since 2012. Over the last few years, he has been compiling documents on the VYAPAM scam and has pursued the matter both politically and legally. He has published all the relevant documents relating to the VYAPAM scam in a booklet called Vyapam Mahaghotala. Saklecha, also a mathematician, is an Aam Aadmi Party member now.

Abhay Chopra. He runs a small medicine shop in Nagda, Madhya Pradesh. Distressed by his daughter’s failure to qualify in the PMT exam, Chopra started inquiring about the test. “My daughter told me that all seats were already bought by rich people,” Chopra told Frontline. Over the years, he compiled a list of over 700 fraudulent admissions. A lawyer by training, he filed the first PIL petition against fraudulent admissions, on July 6, 2013. He also exposed Pankaj Trivedi, Chief Examination Controller at VYAPAM, by making his letter to medical college deans public. In this letter, which secured the admission of 417 students, Trivedi asked the students to give an affidavit saying that they would surrender their seats if they were found guilty in future.

Ashish Chaturvedi. Gwalior-based Ashish Chaturvedi initially filed eight cases alleging fraudulent admissions. His mother works in the regional medical college and he claims he was tipped off by the students of the college. One of the eight cases was of Shakti Singh, who happened to be Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan’s nephew. Since then, he has divulged important information to the STF and has petitioned the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to probe 5,000 such cases. He has been attacked 14 times. Three attacks left him badly injured. He has received threat calls innumerable times.

Prashant Pandey. Indore-based Prashant Pandey, who has helped the police as a cyber forensics expert in many cases, found the most explosive evidence against the Chief Minister. The Special Task Force hired him to crack VYAPAM’s system analyst Nitin Mohindra’s external hard disk. He found tables that showed the Chief Minister as having recommended 64 candidates for the PMT. Initially he remained silent, but the State police, one night in 2014, picked him up and accused him of stealing confidential state information. His family started to feel threatened after this incident. Pandey decided to hand over the documents to Digvijaya Singh to seek political protection.

Ajoy Ashirwad Mahaprashasta