As pressure on the Madhya Pradesh government mounted over the mysterious deaths linked to a massive scam to manipulate the results of entrance examinations for government jobs and medical colleges, the state police decided to reopen the case of an alleged beneficiary -- a young medical student -- after her postmortem report revealed that she was strangulated to death.
MBBS student Namrata Damor, whose body was found near railway tracks in Ujjain district on January 7, 2012, had died a "homicidal" death caused by "violent axphyxia as a result of smothering" and not suicide as earlier thought, according to reports.
Protests against Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan's government have reached new intensity after the deaths of 45 people directly or indirectly linked to the scam called Vyapam after the Hindi name of the state's professional examination board. Chouhan, who initially held out against a CBI probe in the multi-crore scandal, finally gave in yesterday after massive public outcry.
"We have ordered a review of the death of Namrata Damor. Sub-Divisional Officer of Police (SDOP), Tarana, R K Sharma will reopen the case," PTI quoted Ujjain Superintendent of Police Manohar Singh Varma as saying. Police had registered a murder case following her death but later closed it describing it as an "accident".
'Accused No 10'
In a separate revelation, NDTV accessed a police document that showed that Madhya Pradesh Governor Ram Naresh Yadav is named as "Accused No 10" in the case. While over 2000 people have been arrested in connection with the scam, the Governor has constitutional immunity protecting him from investigation.
Television journalist Akshay Singh was interviewing Damor's family in her home town of Jhabua when he suddenly fell ill and died, bringing the focus back on the scam that had fallen out of public radar in the last few years.
"Based on these details, the Governor must be investigated. Is the BJP trying to protect the Chief Minister?" NDTV quoted Congress leader Digivjaya Singh as saying.
The Congress today staged a protest seeking a Supreme Court-monitored probe. Indian Youth Congress (IYC) also demanded that Chouhan resign from his post.
Jabalpur HC refuses to entertain Madhya Pradesh Govt's plea seeking CBI probe in #VyapamScam— ANI (@ANI_news) July 8, 2015
"Dreams of job aspirants were toyed with in Madhya Pradesh. Somebody wanted to be doctor, engineer, management trainee, police constable, etc. Their dreams have been toyed with. Those who are associated with the scam be sent to jail. Modi sarkar and Shivraj Singh Chouhan sarkar fulfil dreams of only those who have money," Congress spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said while addressing protesters.
Youth Congress Protests
Party leader Meenakshi Natarajan demanded Chouhan's resignation and reiterated Congress' stand of CBI probe under the supervision of judiciary into the matter. The Congress leaders also accused Chouhan of being "aware" of the scam taking place in the state.
Police resorted to the use of water canon to disperse the protestors and detained IYC members including Raja Brar.
Singh's Viscera Samples Sent For Toxicological Analysis
In a separate development, the All India Institute of Medical Sciences has decided to send the viscera samples of Singh to the central forensic laboratory to test for poisoning and will conduct examination of tissues to study any manifestation of disease.
According to a senior doctor, the forensic department of AIIMS does not have the required facilities to conduct the toxicological analysis of viscera samples which is used to determine if there is any poisoning and its source.
A three-member AIIMS board comprising Additional Professor Dr Adarsh Kumar, Professor Dr Millo Tabin and Senior Resident Doctor Shashank Pooniya, all from the forensic department of AIIMS, is conducting histopathological test which involves microscopic examination of tissues to study manifestations of disease.
"There are two sets of viscera samples. One set (tissues) we have accepted and have started doing histopathological examination of tissues. While the other set of viscera samples will be sent to CFSL-Delhi for toxicological analysis. We have already told Madhya Pradesh police team to take the second set for chemical analysis.
"It will be better that the other sample is sent to CFSL labs," said AIIMS' forensic head Dr Sudhir Gupta.
According to sources at AIIMS, the institute does not have the mandate and the enhanced facilities required to conduct toxicological analysis of viscera samples, the reason why even in Sunanda Pushkar's case her viscera samples were sent to CFSL last year.
I do not want to leave anybody in doubt over our intention to clean the system and punish the guilty.— ShivrajSingh Chouhan (@ChouhanShivraj) July 7, 2015
Yesterday, a police team from Jhabua, Madhyan Pradesh had come with the scribe's viscera samples and had handed it over to AIIMS forensic head.
Delhi Government Offers Job To Sister Of Akshay Singh
The Delhi government has offered a job to the sister of Singh. Kejriwal and Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia also extended full financial assistance to Singh's family even as they demanded an independent probe into the circumstances leading to the scribe's death in Bhopal.
"The whole family is in a state of shock. They have lost their young son who was the only earning member of their family. We have offered them full financial assistance and a job for his sister soon which they need at this point," Sisodia told reporters.
Kejriwal and Sisodia spent around one hour at Singh's Mayur Vihar residence and consoled the grieving family. Sisodia said an investigation under the MP Police or BJP-led central government leading to his death "cannot be independent" and demanded a Supreme Court-monitored SIT probe.
"Why did Shivraj Singh Chouhan take so much time to agree to a CBI probe?" he asked referring to MP CM's climb down on the issue.
(With inputs from PTI)