A tabiz is worn for good luck. Some bring more luck than the others. These are the ones that come with earpieces and SIM cards to help students cheat in exams. Stores stocked with such gadgets are operating openly in the Capital and cater to anyone willing to shell out Rs 8,000-15,000 for the equipment.
The devices come with a warranty and can pass through X-ray scanners undetected, or so claim the manufacturers.
Posing as students, an HT team visited one such store in west Delhi’s Patel Nagar. Oblivious to the recent cheating scandal which led to the cancellation of the all-India pre-medical entrance test, a group of at least eight people were working on the hi-tech devices in the multi-storey residential building.
“We need gadgets to communicate with someone at a distance without anyone noticing…,” a reporter told the store manager.
Rather sheepishly the manager replied, “I understand what you need. We have some standard products which you can use but we can always customise them as per your need.”
“Show them our popular tabiz (a religious locket) device. Explain them how to use it. They would need practice,” the manager ordered his helper, who took the HT team through a narrow staircase to a room on the second floor.
The tabiz in question came with an in-built SIM card. In a demo of sorts, the helper made one of the reporters wear the tabiz and, much to his surprise, tossed a dot-sized audio device into his ear. The other reporter was asked to step out and call a number. The SIM card in the tabiz picked up the call which was answered automatically in two seconds. The earpiece was so small that it had to be pulled out of the ear using a magnet.
“The device gets automatically activated when a call is made to it. Even a person sitting in another state can make calls and communicate with you. You will have to get a new SIM card for this,” explained the store helper. The audio quality too was clear.
Prices of the devices vary from Rs 8,000 to Rs 15,000 depending on your bargaining capacity and size of the order. The HT team was offered a student discount. “You are students so I can lower the price from Rs 16,000 (for two pieces) to Rs 12,000,” the store manager said.
Another store in south Delhi’s Green Park boasted of having “made many doctors in Bihar”. “There would be no problem and no one would get to know about it. We have made many doctors in Bihar using these products so don’t worry about the efficiency. We only sell genuine products with a one-year warranty. The products are so sophisticated that they can’t be detected even during the search before boarding a Metro train,” said the attendant of the store which operates out of a residential society in the posh area.
He initially quoted Rs 15,000 per piece for the device but lowered it to Rs 8,000 after a student discount. “If you can get your friends, we can lower it further. It can be delivered to your home,” he said, handing a visiting card.
Many offer to customize the gadget to fit it into salwar-kameez sets, sports bras, jackets, shirts and regular buttons. They guarantee same-day delivery too.
“The microphone can be fitted anywhere from your watch to a hair band. While the religious lockets attract less attention, an innerwear can be a perfect option too, hence they remain the top-selling products,” the shop manager in Patel Nagar said.
The business is thriving in the digital world too. A simple Google search will throw up a plethora of websites providing such gadgets with an assurance of helping you pass exams without studying. “Pass exams successfully without prior preparation,” says the website of a store in Dwarka, claiming to be in the business for at least 10 years.
According to the police, applicants accused in the medical entrance test bought the cheating devices from a shop in New Delhi.