05/07/2015 12:37 PM IST | Updated 15/07/2016 8:25 AM IST

Vyapam Scam Deaths: Arun Sharma, Dean Of Jabalpur Medical College, Found Dead In Delhi Hotel

Supporters of former Haryana state Chief Minister Om Prakash Chautala stop traffic and shout slogans outside a court in New Delhi, India, Tuesday, Jan. 22, 2013. According to local news reports, a Delhi court Tuesday sentenced Chautala and his son Ajay Chautala to 10 years imprisonment for corruption in a teachers' recruitment scam and other charges amidst scenes of violence by his supporters. (AP Photo/Altaf Qadri)

The death toll of people linked to the infamous Vyapam scam just got higher.

Arun Sharma, dean of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose Medical College in Jabalpur, was found dead in his Delhi hotel room today morning. Hotel staff said that he had asked for a wake up call, but never responded to it. Later, the door was broken down and his body was found, TV reports said.

The staff of NS Medical College had been linked to the Vyapam scam, and Sharma was assisting the special task force that is investigating the huge scam, in which politicians and bureaucrats are alleged to have accepted bribes in exchange for allowing imposters to sit for recruitment examinations for government jobs and admissions to state colleges.

Dr Sharma had taken over as dean of the college two months ago. The earlier dean, DK Sakalle, was also found dead two years ago. This was tweeted by former chief minister Digvijay Singh.

Sharma's death comes just one day after the mysterious death of Akshay Singh, a journalist with Hindi news channel Aaj Tak. Madhya Pradesh chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan has asked a special investigating team to probe Singh's death. Over 40 people connected to the scam have died in the last six months

"The high court has not allowed Congress' request for a CBI probe earlier," Singh told reporters. He added that the Singh's death was "unfortunate and very sad." The Congress and Aam Aadmi Party have demanded a probe by the Central Bureau of Investigation, the federal investigating agency but Chouhan has not agreed. "The Supreme Court appointed SIT has been asked to probe the journalist's death," he said in a TV interview.

On Saturday, Singh, 36, had just finished interviewing the parents of Namrata Damor, who was found dead under mysterious circumstances near railway tracks in Ujjain. Her father Mehtab Singh told reporters that Singh had visited their house in the afternoon, and had interviewed him. Soon after, he suddenly froth started coming out of his mouth, and he was taken to a civil hospital, but doctors failed to revive him. From there he was taken to another hospital in nearby Dahod in Gujarat, where he was declared brought dead.

READ: Aaj Tak Reporter Covering Vyapam Scam Dies Suddenly In Madhya Pradesh

The scam is named after Madhya Pradesh Professional Examination Board (Vyavsayik Pareeksha Mandal, or Vyapam) and dates back to 2007, when it was found that officials were rigging eligibility tests for government jobs such as police constables, teachers, bank clerks and more. Candidates are believed to have paid a total of Rs 2,000 crore as bribes over a period of 6-7 years before the scam was unearthed. Among the accused are politicians and bureaucrats, including officials in the office of Governor Ram Naresh Yadav. The police made over 2,000 arrests.

Despite the huge scale of the scandal, it had drifted out of public attention until reports came in that 47 witnesses and accused had died in the last six months, mostly in road 'accidents'. The police termed 23 of them as unnatural deaths, pointing to foul play. The investigating team is due to submit its findings to the Supreme Court on July 15.

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