Anita Kumari took a big leap towards her long-cherished dream of becoming a doctor when she secured admission in Bhopal’s prestigious Gandhi Medical College three years ago after scoring an impressive 85% in the statewide entrance test.
It was an astonishing performance, particularly because she had answered only 31 of the 200 questions in the pre-medical exam correctly.
But sources said Anita’s lack of knowledge was compensated by the fact that her father was a private secretary to the chief minister at the time and had unfettered access to a booming test-rigging racket in the Madhya Pradesh Professional Examination Board (MPPEB), or Vyapam.
Controversy over BJP’s Vyapam damage control
This is just one of the cases related to the multi-crore scandal that has bruised the BJP government’s reputation with powerful politicians, bureaucrats, doctors and businessmen among the suspects.
“It was all done in a very precise manner to give particular marks to particular candidates. The computer records prove that,” a senior official in the board said.
Documents show that Anita had answered 61 out of the 200 questions, and just 31 of them correctly. However, 130 more questions were answered in different ink, apparently by Vyapam officials involved in the scam. Of these, 129 were correct.
Watch: The A to Z of the Vyapam scam
Corrupt officials also used correction fluid to mask nine of her inaccurate answers and fixed them.
Both Anita and her father, Premchandra Prasad, have been named in the scam that has seen at least 40 deaths of witnesses and accused with whistleblowers saying people were being deliberately eliminated to shield influential politicians and civil servants. The case is now being examined by the CBI.
The documents with HT pertaining to the second round of the Vyapam probe reveal that the exam board got fresh evidence from investigators related to rigging of optical mark recognition (OMR) answer sheets of 19 candidates, including 14 who had gone to court after being penalised by Vyapam.
The first inquiry led to the cancellation of results of 349 applicants, but another round was carried out after the state high court ruled in favour of 14 of these candidates, including Anita.
The Vyapam inquiry report observes that if only the original 31 correct answers were considered, Anita would never have cleared the PMT as the minimum cut-off marks for OBC category candidates was 80 out of 200.
Such anomalies were identified in the case of eight students among the 19 investigated by the state police and the details were handed over to Vyapam for its internal inquiry.
In all these cases, additional correct answers in the range of 123 to 131 were filled in by board officials and the aspiring doctors scored between 75% and 91% marks.