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Vyapam deaths natural, says MP minister, rejects probe demand

Narendra Singh Tomar, an accused in the high-profile MPPEB scam died in jail

Bhopal/New Delhi: “Death is a natural occurrence. One who has been born will die,” Madhya Pradesh Home Minister Babulal Gaur said today, rejecting demands for a probe into the death of two accused in the MPPEB scam yesterday.

He also dismissed opposition Congress’ repeated calls for ordering a CBI investigation into the scandal, commonly known as Vyapam scam, claiming the ongoing probe ordered by the state’s BJP government was proceeding “in the right direction”.

“Death is natural…be it in the jail or on rail (train), one who has been born will die,” he said when asked whether the government was contemplating ordering an inquiry into the death of a large number of accused and witnesses in the scam in mysterious circumstances.

Yesterday, two of the hundreds of accused inĀ  various Vyapam cases had died, adding yet another murky chapter to the scandal, taking the official death toll of the accused and witnesess to 25. The Special Investigating Team (SIT) probing the cases had three days back submitted to the MP High Court that 23 persons allegedly involved in the scam had died unnatural deaths.

The Congress has, meanwhile, accused Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan of a cover-up with its general secretary Digvijay Singh saying the party had lost faith in the HC-appointed SIT.

“More than 41 people who were accused have died mysteriously. But, unfortunately, the Chief minister is trying to cover up and we are fighting the battle in court.

“We have lost total faith in the SIT appointed by the honourable High Court. They themselves have conveyed their helplessness to guide the STF investigation. So we have no option but to go to Supreme Court,” he said.

Congress spokesman Tom Vadakkan said deaths and the scam needed to be probed by an independent SIT under the direct supervision of the apex court.

The chorus for a probe into ‘suspicious deaths’ grew after two accused– 40-year-old Dr Rajendra Arya died at Birla Hospital in Gwalior yesterday and Narendra Singh Tomar (29), a veterinarian, passed away in an Indore hospital. Tomar was lodged in Indore jail.

The most high-profile death was that of Shailesh Yadav, son of Madhya Pradesh Governor Ram Naresh Yadav. Shailesh, 50, who was alleged to have fixed the recruitment of 10 candidates as Grade III teachers, was found dead at his father’s residence in Mall Avenue area on March 25 this year.

When asked about Shailesh’s death, Gaur said,”Be it the King or the pauper, all will die.”

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