New Delhi: A Dean of Jabalpur Medical College, who was said to be probing fake examinees in the Vyapam scam, was found dead under mysterious circumstances in a hotel in south-west Delhi's Dwarka this morning, a day after the sudden death of a TV journalist covering the scam, setting off strident calls for a CBI inquiry.
The body of 64-year-old Dr Arun Sharma, Dean of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose Medical College in Jabalpur in Madhya Pradesh, was found dead in his room at Upal hotel in Dwarka close to the IGI airport, police said.
The death of Dr Sharma came to light a day after investigative journalist Akshaya Singh died under mysterious circumstances in Jhabua in Madhya Pradesh, soon after he had interviewed the parents of a girl who was found dead after her name figured in the massive admission and recruitment scandal.
File photo of Arun Sharma, Dean of the Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose Medical College in Jabalpur and chairman of the committee appointed by MP government to investigate fake doctors appointment through Vyapam, found dead in a hotel in New Delhi on Sunday. Pic/ PTI
Asked about reported role of Dr Sharma in probing Vyapam scam examinees and admissions, Joint Commissioner of Police (South West) Dipender Pathak said police is "covering all the angles" in its investigation. Sources said Delhi Police is in touch with MP Police and will be sending a team to Madhya Pradesh to find out Dr Sharma's role in probing fake admissions under Vyapam scam at his medical college.
Dr Sharma was said to be scrutinising the admissions in the medical college in the wake of Vyapam scam. The admissions on the medical seats in college were done through MPPEB (MP Professional Examination Board ), also called Vyapam, in which some fake candidates were suspected, said a source. Incidentally, Sharma was the second Dean of the medical college to die under mysterious circumstances in the last one year.
The charred body of another Dean of the same medical college Dr DK Sakalle, who was reportedly looking into fake admissions in the medical college in the wake of Vyapam scam, was found in his home on July 4 last year. Dr Sharma was reportedly close to Dr Sakalle. "Dr Sharma was found dead at his room in a hotel in Delhi. We are shocked at the death, He was a very close to Dr Sakalle," Indian Medical Association (IMA) Jabalpur district president Sudhir Tiwari told PTI.
Tiwari claimed Sharma had wept at the funeral pyre of Sakalle, adding that the latter (Sakalle) had not committed suicide, as concluded by police after investigation. "I suspect that Sharma too might have been killed," Tiwari said in Jabalpur, adding he had learnt two days back that the Dean had submitted a report relating to the Vyapam scam to the Special Task Force (STF) probing it.
Delhi Police said that the staff of the hotel gave a wake up call at his door in the morning but it was not opened after repeated knocks. Later, they entered the room using a duplicate key and found Dr Sharma's body lying on the bed. A bottle of alcohol almost empty was found in the room.
Sharma had also vomited and there were signs of heavy drinking, said a senior police officer, adding forensic evidences were collected and the body sent for post mortem. Sharma had checked into the hotel in Dwarka yesterday evening and was scheduled to fly to Agartala this morning for an official inspection of a medical college there, police said.
His son told the police that he had been suffering from some heart ailments. Some medicines were also found in the room, police said. Reacting to Dr Sharma's death, Congress general secretary Digvijay Singh, who has petitioned the Supreme Court seeking a CBI probe into the scam, tweeted, "Dr Arun Sharma Dean of Jabalpur Medical College found dead in a Delhi Hotel.
His father NK Sharma was a Minister, MP and MPCC President." In another tweet, he said, "Incidentally Dr Sakalle, earlier Dean of Medical College Jabalpur, was found dead burnt in his residence lawns at 730 am 2 years back (sic)." "He (Sakalle) was taking strong action against irregular admissions in medical colleges through Vyapam.
No government said it was suicide," Singh further said. Besides Singh and Sharma, at least 25 accused and witnesses have died so far in the Vyapam scam, a massive admission and recruitment racket involving several bureaucrats and politicians.
Around a fortnight back, the SIT probing the scam had submitted a report to the High Court wherein it said 23 accused and witnesses in the Vyapam scam had died "unnatural" deaths. Since then two more accused had died under mysterious circumstances.