For an MBBS who admits not knowing how to hold an X-ray film,Dr Jagdish Sagars alleged record suggests he had a strong grip on the system that produces doctors in Madhya Pradesh. The police say he has confessed to having admitted 140 students illegally to medical courses only in the last few years. Health Minister Anup Mishra estimates the overall total at 340.
The story of the alleged kingpin of the pre-medical test racket began with hard work,when he funded his education by holding tuitions after moving to Gwalior from a village in Bhind district. He reportedly also sold his wifes mangalsutra to meet expenses.
Sagar,42,arrested from Mumbai last week by the Indore crime branch,married in Class XII while his wife was two years junior. He left his village after his parents told him they couldn’t afford to educate him further. He emerged from his struggle to eventually get the MBBS degree,but he chose not to practise,apparently because he found more lucrative ways to earn a living.
Congress MLA from Lahar in Bhind district Govind Singh calls Sagars activities shady from the beginning. He recalls how Sagar fled the Gwalior-Bhind region after a police raid at his home more than a decade ago. Singh says Sagars wife,who too flaunts an MBBS degree,had been elected to the district panchayat in the 1990s.
Over the last one week,the Indore police searched his premises,where they found CCTV cameras and biometric locks,and details of assets that include at least 20 properties in Indore,Gwalior,Dewas and many other towns.
The police were intrigued by the discovery of a number of used and unused cartridges,weapons including a revolver from a pulses container,and a huge collection of liquor bottles. Sagar,a teetotaller,told them the bottles were meant to impress visitors. The bungalow also had a centre for training those he allegedly helped get admission.
Police said the modus operandi was to rope in bright students who would impersonate examination candidates and help others cheat,either by dictating the correct answers or by exchanging sheets. The police have seized the hard disk of the main server in the Bhopal-based headquarters of the Madhya Pradesh Professional Examination Board,which conducts the test. Three employees have been arrested for manipulating seating arrangements to ensure that students and impersonators,mostly from Uttar Pradesh,sat close to each other.
Sagar was a lavish spender,handing out a Rs 500 note when servants asked for Rs 100. If his Indore neighbours are to be believed,he occasionally fired in the air but what really fuelled their curiosity was how his wealth kept increasing when they never saw him practise. When cops asked him about his practice,he told them he does not remember how to hold an X-ray film.
Dr Anand Rai,who exposed illegal and unauthorised drug trials in MP,says it is impossible to have run a racket of this scale without political patronage. He says the issue of fake doctors has been raised in the assembly many times,yet Sagar kept prospering for years.