Singh, 38, an investigative journalist for the privately owned Hindi news channel Aaj Tak, died from what doctors said was a heart attack. Singh was conducting an interview when he drank from a cup of tea and began coughing and frothing at the mouth, according to reports. He was taken to a local hospital, where he was declared dead.
Singh, a special correspondent for Aaj Tak who was also on the channel’s special investigation team, was on assignment in the state to investigate cases related to a high-profile billion-dollar corruption scandal. The journalist, who had been in the state for four days, was investigating the death of a woman tied to the scandal, whose body had been found near railway tracks in Ujjain district, according to reports.
Police, who uncovered the scandal, known as the Vyapam scam, in 2013, accused hundreds of individuals of rigging exams and giving or taking bribes, according to news reports. The suspects included students, state officials, and members of the Madhya Pradesh Professional Examination Board, a government body responsible for administering entrance exams for various educational institutions and professions in the state, according to news reports.
According to a New York Times report which cited an official count, about two dozen individuals had died in unclear circumstances in connection with the case. The week before the journalist died, according to a Washington Post report citing police, “one of those accused died after having chest pains in prison, another drowned in a village pond and a third died of a liver infection.”
Doctors examined Singh’s body to determine what led to the heart attack, news reports said. The journalist’s employer and family members asked that the results be sent and examined outside the state, according to news reports. In the days after his death, Delhi’s All India Institute of Medical Sciences hospital began an investigation into the journalist’s internal organs to determine the cause of his death, news reports said.
On July 9, India’s Supreme Court ordered a federal-level probe by the Central Bureau of Investigation into the journalist’s death and other deaths connected to the Vyapam scam, as well as the scam itself, according to news reports.