The body of Vijay Bahadur, an observer for two recruitment tests in the Vyapam scam, was found on a railway track in Odisha. (Photo credit: Facebook page of Vijay Bahadur)

A retired bureaucrat who was an observer for two recruitment tests in the Vyapam scam was found dead in Odisha, turning the spotlight back on the mysterious deaths of several people linked to the scandal.

The body of retired Indian Forest Services (IFS) officer Vijay Bahadur was found on a railway track in Jharsuguda early on October 15, police in Odisha said on Friday.

Bahadur was returning to Bhopal from Puri by the Puri-Jodhpur Express with his wife Nita Singh after attending a reunion of 1978 batch IFS officers, Government Railway Police (GRP) officials in Jharsuguda told HT over.

The recovery of the body revived memories of the death of medical student Namrata Damor, whose body was also recovered on railway tracks near Ujjain in January 2012, more than 150 km from her home in Jhabua.

Earlier this month, the Supreme Court had observed that mysterious deaths related to the Vyapam scam has “suddenly stopped” after the case was transferred to the CBI.

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Besides all cases related to the scam, including rigging of recruitment examinations and entrance tests to professional medical colleges held between 2004 and 2012, the CBI is also probing several mysterious deaths linked to the scam.

The opposition Congress in the state and whistle-blowers say that the death of these people, linked to the scam in some way or the other, was part of a conspiracy to silence key witnesses.

Deputy superintendent of police, GRP (Jharsuguda), Dilip Bag, told HT over phone that prima facie Bahadur’s death was likely due to a fall from the moving train. “However we are awaiting postmortem report and further investigation would be based on that,” he said.

Though family members of Bahadur could not be contacted for comments, inquiry officer of the case, Kuldip Patel said Nita Singh raised questions over the open door of the AC compartment and the absence of a coach attendant.

“She told us that Bahadur had gone to close the open door and did not return,” he said.

Vyapam whistleblower Ajay Dubey, who has in the past repeatedly demanded quizzing of central observers of Vyapam entrance and recruitment tests that were found compromised, has raised questions over the incident.

“Falling down from train at such late hours does not seem normal. The CBI should investigate the death,” he demanded. He also pointed out the eerie similarities of the incident with the case of Damor

Giving details of the incident, Patel said Nita Singh reported about her husband going missing to the TTE of the train near Raigarh station, about 70km from Jharsuguda.