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Vyapam scam: No foul play in journalist death, says CBI

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has ruled out any foul play in the “mysterious death” of Akshay Singh, a Delhi based journalist who had died while trailing the infamous Vyapam Scam in Madhya Pradesh’s Jhabua district.

The probe agency had registered a preliminary enquiry (PE) into the death of the 38-year-old journalist that took place on July 4, 2015 and sources now say that investigators have completed its probe.

“Our investigators have completed their probe and have ruled out any chances of a foul play,” a senior CBI official said indicating the death was natural.

Akshay was working with a television network when his death had triggered a massive debate with Opposition parties raking up deaths of over 50 individuals “connected” to the Vyapam scam, including that of witnesses, accused and even investigators. Soon after his death, Akshay’s family demanded a probe into the cause of his death along with the Editors Guild of India which had back then demanded a CBI probe.

CBI sources told DNA that the probe agency had completed PE’s in 14 deaths related to Madhya Pradesh Professional Examination Board (Vyapam) scam and Akshay’s death was among the cases probed by the agency.

Akshay had complained of uneasiness while interviewing the father of Namrata Damor, a student of the government medical college, Indore and an alleged beneficiary of the massive admission and recruitment scam. Her body was found under mysterious circumstances near a railway track in Ujjain district in 2012.

According to eye-witness accounts, Akshay collapsed suddenly during the interview and had saliva flowing out of his mouth. He was taken to Jeevan Jyoti government hospital which did not possess a defibrillator that is used to pass electric energy into the patients heart.

Namrata’s family then accompanied by Akshay’s panic stricken co-workers then took him to Dahod (an adjoining town in Gujarat about 48km away from Jhabua) where he was declared dead upon arrival.

What was the case Akshay was trailing?

The journalist was trailing the case of Namrata Damor whose case was declared that of a suicide with police filing a closure report in 2013. Interestingly, there two autopsies conducted of Damor and following a massive outcry after Akshay’s death, local police had re-opened her case only to close it the next day.

After her body was discovered in Ujjain, Namrata underwent an autopsy in which the surgeons declared that it was a case of homicide which stated that the 19-year-old died because of “violent asphyxia as a result of smothering”.

However after police sought a second opinion from Medico-Legal Institute whose director Dr DS Badkur had inspected the spot on February 7 the same year and submitted his report in March rejecting the opinion of autopsy surgeon that Namrata death was homicidal. In its report the Medico-Legal Institute also questioned the competency of the team of surgeons which had done autopsy on Namrata.

The opinion by the institute had discredited not only the autopsy surgeons but also very firmly suggested that Namrata might have taken her life after facing ‘disappointment in love and intimate relationship’.

“There is always some reason to commit suicide… in this case disappointment in love and intimate relationship and annoyance of parents, as evident from the statement of a friend of the deceased and presence of human spermatozoa,” reads the report.

The report further says that since the deceased was unmarried and vaginal smear was found with human spermatozoa, “all possible attempts should be made to identify the person who had sexual intercourse with her.”

The police maintained that it found no involvement of five ‘suspected’ accused in the case. The names included, Yash Disawal, Vishal Verma, Dev Sisodia, Shraddha Kesarwani and Alekh Dave.One of the accused, Vishal, is currently under arrest for his alleged role in the