The Vyapam scam has become one the biggest scams for not only the Madhya Pradesh government and Chief Minister (CM) Shivraj Chouhan but also the ruling BJP party. This scam which involves deaths of more than 40 individuals who were in one way or the other associated with the scam. This scam has however caught the attention of the news media which has been covering the issue in depth. The Supreme Court has already ordered a CBI probe into the Vyapam scam.
The scam which involves the manipulation in the selection for government jobs conducted by the Madhya Pradesh Vyavsayik Pareeksha Mandal (Vyapam) which conducts tests for professional courses and recruitment to various posts. The scam came to prominence on news media with the death of journalist Akshay Singh of Aaj Tak on July 4. The journalist who was investigating the scam and the deaths associated with the scam mysteriously passed away after interviewing the parents of Namrata Damor who had been linked to the case and whose body had been found under mysterious circumstances near the railway tracks in Ujjain district.
Initially the Vyapam scam had come to light in 2013 where there were reports of bribes being paid by those seeking admission into medical colleges. The case involved politicians, bureaucrats and others who took kickbacks in order for allowing proxy candidates to take the admission test. After the scam erupted in August 2013 a special task force of the Madhya Pradesh police was put in place to investigate the matter. Consequently, many of the 40 deaths took place. There are over 2,000 people arrested in connection to the scam till now. This includes former education minister Laxmikant Sharma and many other politicians, several officials, bureaucrats, middlemen, students and parents. The final straw which brought the case serious media attention was the death of Aaj Tak journalist Akshay Singh who died investigating the scam.
Rajdeep Sardesai had immediately taken to Twitter after the news of his death to not only pay his respects but also asked for a monitoring cell for all journalists who face threats wherever they are. He also had Digvijay Singh and Madhya Pradesh CM Shivraj Chouhan on the show on India Today TV on July 6 and were followed by other reports on scam on the days following this. He also did an interview with CM Chouhan on July 8. Some of his tweets on the issue:
While Arnab Goswami, President – News and Editor-in-Chief, Times Now and ET Now started covering the scam on June 29 like others when at that time news of 25 deaths associated with the case had come to light. Post the death of Singh, the debate on the Vyapam scam on Newshour had grown with intensity. The hashtag #JobScam was also created by the channel to create buzz around the scam.
Barkha Dutt took her show ‘The Buck Stops Here’ on NDTV 24x7 on the trail of the deaths of those associated with the scam. She even had the whistleblowers Ashish Chaturvedi and Anand Rai on the show where they revealed that they were RSS members.
Apart from TV new media covering the issue in detail and increasing their attention on this scam, the print and digital medium has also equally followed the scam with intensity. From print publications like the Indian Express, The Hindu, Hindustan Times and The Times of India have covered every aspect of the scam. Indian Express travelled all across Madhya Pradesh to meet the families of the dead and reported the denial and fear of the family members. Hindustan Times covered the last few minutes prior to the death of journalist Singh in their article. TOI too has carried in detail accounts of what happened in the Vyapam scam.
Online news portals too have covered the scam in detail to even say that the Modi government is no less than the corruption ridden UPA government. A Firstpost article compared the present NDA government to the UPA government in the case of corruption scandals and how the NDA is bold enough to not sack the ministers despite the corruption cases against them. While Scroll covered the Vyapam issue from the side how many potential did not get in and the manipulation of the system would mean at least 2,000 doctors in the health system with questionable aptitude in treating patients.