Investigations into the use of unfair means in the All India Pre-Medical Test examination (AIPMT) held on May 3, 2015 have revealed the involvement of an organised gang spread across the country.
The Supreme Court on Monday cancelled the results of the AIPMT following a month-long investigation into allegations of large-scale irregularities, including leakage of answer keys, by Haryana police.
According to reports submitted by the Rohtak Police before the apex court, several candidates availed the benefit of the leaked answer keys electronically. As of now, the police have zeroed in on 44 candidates who allegedly used electronic devices, including mobile phones, to answer the questions in the examination.
Beneficiaries across India
Police have registered FIRs against three candidates in Jharkhand's Jamshedpur district. Out of the remaining 41 candidates, 21 admitted having received answer keys through vests fitted with electronic devices during examination hours. Police have also served a notice to 20 more candidates to join the probe.
These 44 candidates appeared in the examination at centres across the country. While 15 appeared at Siliguri in West Bengal, 11 appeared at Rohtak in Haryana, 4 at Ajmer in Rajasthan, 3 each in Delhi and Jamshedpur, and one each in Shimla, Dehradun, Patna, Gurgaon, Chandigarh, Bhubneswar, Bagdogra in West Bengal and Nagpur in Maharashtra.
Investigations have revealed that the prime accused Roop Singh and his accomplices - Krishan and Sunny Dahiya - got in touch with several people in Bihar, Delhi, Haryana, Jharkhand, Maharashtra, Odisha, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh using different SIM cards from Behror in Rajasthan. Two beneficiaries, Nanha Kumar and Sujit, and gang's handler Vijay Yadav, an MBBS student from Banaras Hindu University (BHU), were arrested from Kushi Nagar in Uttar Pradesh.
Nagpur's Parimal Paliwal, who was arrested, confessed during interrogation that he and Nasik's Abid Ali - another MBBS student at Basant Dada Pawar Medical College - delivered the answer keys to one Sahil of Gondia in Maharashtra.
During investigations, the Rohtak Police got 358 suspected mobile numbers of these beneficiaries verified from different parts of the country. While 44 numbers were registered on fake identities, 166 were found to be registered on genuine addresses.
Out of these 166 numbers, police inquiries have revealed that relatives or wards of 37 phone users appeared in the exam. Out of these 37 users, incriminating evidence has been found against 17 candidates who as per the police are confirmed beneficiaries of the answer key leak. The verification of the remaining 148 numbers is under process.
It was found that out of the 123 solved answers of Code G found in the mobile device of an accused Dr Bhupender, 102 answers were found correct when compared with the answer key released by the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE). Similarly, 42 answers out of 50 solved answer key of Code F delivered by the accused were found to be correct.
MBBS students behind plan
MBBS students from BHU and Lucknow's King George Medical College, Vijay Yadav and Rahul Verma, facilitated the transmission of answer keys to students.
Two arrested candidates, Nanha Kumar and Sujit, disclosed during interrogation that they received answer keys through three electronic devices supplied by Yadav. After being arrested, Yadav disclosed that he and Verma successfully qualified the 2014 AIPMT exam using the same modus operandi.
Yadav also admitted that he along with Verma contacted one Veer Bahadur for this year's exam and planned to charge Rs. 17 lakh from each candidate to enable them to qualify in the exam. Yadav also confessed that he attended meetings at Shakti Resort in Behror in Rajasthan on March 2 and 3 where Roop Singh Dangi and Veer Bahadur hatched the conspiracy.
'Success of Yadav, Verma inspired us'
Nanha Kumar and Sujit, who had prepared for the 2014 exam with Yadav and Verma, told the police they were inspired by their success in the exam. The duo met Yadav and Verma regarding this year's AIPMT exam and on April 30 paid a token amount of Rs. 50,000 to Yadav, who provided them with the vests fitted with electronic devices and promised to deliver the answer key on the day of examination.
During investigations, Nanha and Sujit also told the police that they also received answer keys during the Uttar Pradesh PMT exam held on May 25 this year from Yadav through electronic devices with concealed wiring in undergarments.
One of the accused Ravi, a MBBS student, was also found to be involved in a case registered in Delhi regarding leakage of All India PG Medical Entrance Examination 2012. He was also booked by Delhi Police for allegedly leaking the State Bank of India exam questions.
Police said that in both the cases, Ravi had used electronic gadgets and devices.
Shop owner part of the plan
Investigations revealed that Delhi-based shop owner Subhash Shrivastav, who runs an electronic gadgets shop – Spy Shop – in Patel Nagar, was roped in to supply undergarments in which electronic items like the SIM card, Bluetooth devices and wires could be fixed. Shrivastav agreed to supply these at four times the normal price.
After his arrest, Shrivastav admitted having sold around 300 such vests to others just before the exam.