The Crime Branch CID of the Tamil Nadu police have blown the lid off a huge scam in which Plus Two students who appeared for National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET) in the State engaged proxy candidates to simultaneously write the exam for them with the same credentials in other centres and managed to get admission to medical colleges.
A day after Udit Surya (21), a student of Theni Government Medical College and his father Dr. Venkatesan were arrested and remanded in judicial custody, investigators detained Praveen of SRM College, Rahul of Balaji Medical College and Abirami of Sai Satya Medical College, here after prima facie evidence was established that they got admission based on the marks scored by two others who appeared for them in Delhi and Uttar Pradesh respectively.
Preliminary enquiries revealed that the students paid ₹20 lakh each to the persons who appeared on their behalf. Except the photographs all other credentials like the name, age, marksheet, address and other entries in the application were that of the students who engaged the proxy candidates.
Photos not checked
“Had the photographs been checked properly this scam could have been detected earlier. It appears that those who appeared for these students were either teachers or doctors with competency in scoring well in NEET. We have information that there are more candidates who managed to get admission to medical colleges with the same modus operandi,” a senior police official told The Hindu on Friday, adding that biometrics of students was not part of the NEET protocol.
Investigators were coordinating with their counterparts in Delhi and Lucknow to get the identity of the suspects who impersonated and wrote NEET on behalf the suspect students.
The tip-off on more medicos in Tamil Nadu was given by Mr. Surya. “The initial information is that there are about half-dozen, all friends of Surya, who secured admission to medical colleges in this fraudulent manner. More arrests are likely soon,” the official who requested not to be quoted said.
On how the students got in touch with the suspects in other States, the official said there were some middlemen who organised the deal. The possibility of the same modus operandi being adopted in other States cannot be ruled out.
“This is simply like the scene in Vasool Raja MBBS where a tutor writes the medical entrance exam for the protagonist who gets top marks and joins the medical college. We suspect that the middlemen who organised the fraud would have been paid more (than the suspects who took ₹20 lakh to impersonate and write the exam),” another investigator said.
Director-General of Police M.S. Jaffar Sait reviewed the progress in the case with senior police officials, including Superintendent of Police Vijay Kumar, who is heading the special team.
Mr. Sait said the police would go to the roots of the case and expose all the accused who organised the fraud and cheated the entire system of NEET.
“At least five students from one coaching centre are suspected to have benefited by this fraud. The kingpin who masterminded the scam is in Kerala and special teams have rushed there to apprehend him. The actual score of the students who got admission with the marksheet of proxy candidates is very low...there is no question of their clearing NEET. These suspects have robbed the opportunity of meritorious students,” he told The Hindu.