The special task force (STF) probing the fraudulent admission of three students into a medical college in Indore had to reportedly scan more than 40,000 photos of students from Uttar Pradesh and Bihar to track the actual candidate and the impersonator.
The reason: the examination ticket was allegedly photoshopped in a way that the upper half would represent the impersonator and the lower half would be the image of the actual candidate.
This was one of many ways used in the exhaustively planned criminal conspiracy to fraudulently provide admission to students. Behind the scenes of the Vyapam scam, there was extensive rigging, meticulous planning, use of technology and a well-established crime syndicate with lakhs of rupees changing hands.
The Indian Express got the details from an individual who was in touch with a racketeer accused in the scam.
The individual’s claims that the racketeers were well-networked was corroborated by a senior investigator with the STF. The investigator said the deaths of three of the accused, Anuj Uikey, Anshul Sachan and Shyamveer Yadav, who died in a road accident, proved that “they were in constant touch”.
“These three men headed the racket in three different places. Anshul was a racketeer from UP, Shyamveer headed the Gwalior base and Anuj was in-charge in Shahdol. Why would they travel together? Only because they were in constant touch, meeting each other regularly,” the officer said.
The individual who knew one such racketeer said on condition of anonymity, “Firstly, there are the racketeers who control and run the entire nexus. Second are the beneficiaries, who are ready to pay money for the admission. Third — and the most important — are the students who impersonate the actual candidate and write the exams. These are the ones who are in dire need of money,” he said.
He said students who wanted admission were only required to provide their signature and photograph for the admission form. Everything else was handled by the racketeers. “Only signatures and photos would be taken from students. Racketeers would decide which centre one would get on the availability of the impersonator,” he added.
Prices varied from Rs 5 lakh to Rs 50 lakh per candidate, depending on how much “in demand” the college was. “Mostly, students from the reserved category approached the middlemen,” he said.
The “impersonators” would be carefully chosen from UP and Bihar. “Hubs around coaching institutes in UP and Bihar, where students prepare for the All India Pre-Medical Test, were targeted. These students came from a poor economic background — their fathers were usually daily wage earners or labourers,” he said. A large chunk of the imposters came from Lucknow, Allahabad, Kanpur and Saifi, he said.
“These students prepare for a much tougher central exam. Cracking the state entrance is an easier task. Hence, such students are picked up,” he said.
Racketeers in Madhya Pradesh and UP would coordinate with each other at different stages. “Racketeers from all centres are very well-networked and work in tandem,” he said.
Explaining the modus operandi, he said that one impersonator would be “hired” for three or four candidates. While the impersonator would go to the exam hall in place of one candidate, the others would be strategically placed near him so they can copy during the exam.
Asked if board officials were part of the process, he claimed, “Yes, in some cases, OMRs would be marked by them during evaluation.”