- Sources said a coaching centre, its director, students have been charged
- Sources said candidates were charged ₹ 50 lakh assuring admission
- Revelation comes amid suicides by medical aspirants in Tamil Nadu
A scandal involving the NEET medical entrance examinations that saw an attempt to use proxies to clear the test and payments of Rs 50 lakh per candidate has been unearthed, CBI sources said on Wednesday, amid an uproar over suicides by students crushed by their results.
A Maharashtra-based coaching centre RK Education Career Guidance, its Director Parimal Kotpalliwar and several students have been charged in the scam, sources in the CBI said, adding that candidates were charged as much as Rs 50 lakh assuring admission in government medical colleges.
The CBI's FIR, accessed by NDTV, stated, "Information revealed that Parimal Kotpalliwar solicits the aspiring candidates by offering them admission in top government medical colleges by adopting fraudulent means and unfair practices. The parents of prospective candidates have been contacted and are being assures of admission in medical colleges by manipulating the process of examination being conducted by NEET by using proxy candidates."
The investigation has revealed that the parents of desirous candidates were asked to deposit post-dated cheques of the agreed amount and original mark sheets of the candidate for Class 10 and Class 12 as security which the coaching centre would return after realising the agreed amount which is up to Rs 50 lakh.
"Information further revealed that the user IDs and passwords of candidates appearing for the examination have been collected by Parimal and his associates and necessary modifications have been made for getting desired examination centres as planned by them. They also use the process of mixing/morphing photographs to facilitate use of proxy candidates for appearing in the examination. Copies of e-Aadhaar card of candidates were being collected for the purpose of making forged ID cards. Parimal also assured candidates of providing answer keys and manipulating OMR sheets", the FIR added.
Though five proxy candidates were set up for the NEET examination held on September 12 by Parimal Kotpalliwar, agency sources say those proxies didn't turn up at the exam centres while the agency officials were waiting at the centres to catch them red handed.
"Searches were conducted at the accused promises and arrests have been made" agency sources told NDTV.
The revelation comes amid a string of suicides in Tamil Nadu that prompted Chief Minister MK Stalin to make an emotional appeal last week to students stricken by the outcome of the test. Over the past few years, 15 medical aspirants have died by suicide in the state.
A 17-year-old girl died in Tamil Nadu last week allegedly by suicide, the third such death in less than a week. The daily wager's daughter, who had appeared for NEET 2021, was anxious over clearing it. She had scored 84.9 per cent in Class 12.
"I beg of you, please do not end your lives. Nothing is impossible for you. Study with that confidence. Parents, too, should instil self-confidence in children and not stress them out," Chief Minister Stalin said in his appeal, advising panicked children to talk to mental health experts by dialling 104.
Earlier this month, Tamil Nadu passed a new bill to stop NEET-based admission to medical courses. It would, however, only take effect after a sign-off by President Ram Nath Kovind, since it challenges a central law.