The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has filed a charge-sheet against 160 more accused, including the chairmen of three medical colleges in Madhya Pradesh, for allegedly rigging the 2013 Pre-Medical Test (PMT) in the multi-crore Vyapam examination and recruitment scam.
This took the number of accused who have been charge-sheeted in the case to 650 so far.
"The charge-sheet was filed on Thursday in the special CBI court of Nitiraj Singh Sisodia hearing Vyapam-related cases, against 160 new accused, including Pankaj Trivedi, former controller of Madhya Pradesh Vyavasayik Pariksha Mandal (Vyapam) and two officials of state Directorate of Medical Education (DME)," CBI's special prosecutor Satish Dinkar told PTI.
Those charge-sheeted include Ajay Goenka, S N Vijaywargiya and Suresh Singh Bhadoria, chairmen of Chirayu Medical College and Hospital, People's Medical College and Hospital (both in Bhopal) and Indore-based Index Medical College and Hospital respectively, he confirmed.
The CBI had earlier said that the accused candidates had adopted a unique engine-bogie system or method of cheating in the exam by engaging intelligent students (engines) as solver candidates for allowing copying of their answers by the beneficiaries (bogies), who would sit behind them.
Mr Dinkar said 56 candidates referred to as 'bogies', 46 persons referred to as 'engines', 13 guardians of the medical course aspirants and nine middlemen were also charge-sheeted.
He said that the charge-sheet was filed against the accused under sections 120 (criminal conspiracy), 419 (cheating by personation), 420 (cheating, 467 (forgery of valuable security) 468 (forgery for the purpose of cheating) and other relevant counts of Indian Penal Code (IPC), Prevention of Corruption Act and MP Examination Recognition Act.
The court has allowed the CBI's plea to produce the accused in the court in batches in view of the pandemic, Mr Dinkar said, adding that they will be produced in the court between February 22 and March 12 in adherence to the COVID-appropriate behaviour.
Copies of the charge-sheet will be handed over to the accused before charges are framed against them, he added.
The scam in Vyapam or Madhya Pradesh Professional Examination Board broke out in 2013, wherein candidates had bribed officials and rigged exams by deploying imposters to write their answer sheets. The scam began in 1995 involving politicians, senior officials and businessmen. The CBI had taken over investigation following the Supreme Court order in 2015.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)