Fear is writ large on faces. Once deserted lanes are now brimming with TV cameras, cabs and hordes of strangers. The admission and recruitment scam is now the macabre truth of Madhya Pradesh. The words of TV journalist Akshay Singh, who lost his life while investigating the scam, spoken in conversation with RTI activist Ashish Chaturvedi, ring loud and clear: “Aisa lagta hai iss rajya ko Vyapam ka bhoot chad gaya hai (Seems like MP is being haunted by Vyapam’s spirit).” And it is to this spirit that numerous families have succumbed. TEHELKA visited the state’s hinterland to meet the grieving families who lost their dear ones to the scam.
Cause of Death: Suicide Died on 8 January 2015
Charges: Forged PMT Admission
“..My wife used to worship the BJP but the scam took her son’s life and eventually killed her as well..” – Ramendra’s Father
For Narayan Singh Bhadoria, who lives in Kanch Mill area of Gwalior, the New Year was hardly an occasion for celebration. It was the year that would deal one severe blow after the other. On 8 January, his youngest son Ramendra Bhadoria, a 2007 PMT batch doctor, committed suicide. Unable to cope with the loss of her young son, four days later Ramendra’s mother, too, committed suicide by consuming acid. “She used to worship the BJP but the scam took her son’s life and eventually killed her as well,”
Narayan tells TEHELKA. Narayan, who worked odd jobs — as a labourer in a mill to security guard at atms to educate his sons, poses a haunting question: “Hum kahan galat the jo humari 40 saal ki kamai ek din mein loot li? (What wrong did we do that the savings from 40 years of hard work were looted from us in a single day?)”
After completing his MBBS in 2012 from GR Medical College in Gwalior, Ramendra was appointed at Binaganj for his rural training. His father breaks down recalling how desperately Ramendra wanted to leave the work there. He subsequently paid Rs 90,000 seeking exemption from the rural training and got his no-objection certificate (NOC) from the college on 12 September 2013. But even before he could celebrate earning his degree, he was named in an fir regarding discrepancies in the PMT admit cards. He was served a show cause notice in April next year. Interestingly, the college administration that gave him the NOC failed to find any flaw in his records, before the process of investigation was initiated.
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“We had to take a loan for depositing the instalments of his MBBS fees that ranged between Rs 18,500 and Rs 35,000, which at times were paid with late fine,” says Narayan. For a family struggling to pay off this meagre sum, buying a PMT seat that cost between Rs 5 lakh and Rs 15 lakh could only be a far-fetched dream. The run-down condition of his house substantiates his claim. “Marne se pehle usne lagbhag saare karze utar diye they aur apni pg ki fees ke liye Rs 1.5 lakh bank mei ikattha karliye tha (Before dying he paid off almost all the debt and also saved Rs 1.5 lakh in the bank for his postgraduation fees),” he says. Ramendra had been working in BIMR Hospital (Birla), Gwalior, to pay off the debts.
According to Narayan, his son was implicated in the case to save the real culprits. When Ramendra was summoned for the initial investigation, his signature samples were taken and they prima facie matched his PMT signature. Yet, his documents were never released by the college. This eventually led Ramendra to severe depression. Initially, he remained ill for months due to dengue. A few months later he succumbed to the pressure. Rejecting the police’s version of his death, Narayan says, “A failed love affair cannot be a reason for his suicide. It is in this very room that I told him he could marry anyone of his choice. Nothing other than the mental torture inflicted on him through the fabricated cases could have forced him to take his own life.” Ironically, the sit granted Ramendra clearance on 9 January, one day after his death.