Vyapam : The Notes on a Scam [Second Analysis]

Vyapam : The Notes on a Scam

The Vyapam scam is an admission and recruitment scam involving may pillars of so called “Democracy” like Politicians,Bureaucrats,Goverment Officials,Teachers and Businessmen in the Indian state of Madhya Pradesh.

Vyavsayik Pariksha Mandal aka “Vyapam”, is a government body responsible for conducting several entrance tests in the state. These entrance exams are used for recruitment to government jobs and for admissions to educational institutes,various professional courses and for recruitment to government jobs in the state. The scam involved a collusion of undeserving candidates, who bribed politicians and MPPEB officials through middlemen, to get high ranks in these entrance tests.

Modus operandi

The scam involved a collusion among exam candidates, government officials and middlemen: undeserving candidates were offered high marks in the exams, in exchange for huge amount of money.

Tricks involved in the scam

Impersonation – The admit card of the candidate was used to execute the trick. All the information of the candidate remained intact except the photograph. Candidate’s photograph was replaced by that of the impersonator and after the exam, it was changed back to the original. All this was done in collusion with the corrupt Board officials. The impersonator was always some brilliant student and used to get hefty amount to secure the seat.

Engine and bogie system – A person was strategically seated adjacent to the candidate. The person let them copy from his sheet or exchanged the sheet at the end of the exam.

OMR sheets – The select candidates were asked to leave their answer sheets blank. They were randomly given high percentages after the exam. Concerned authorities of the Board then filed an RTI demanding to view those answer sheets. They then filled in the answers in the OMR booklet according to the marks they have already been given. This was done so that if someone were to ever check those answer sheets, there would not be any loopholes that could give them away.

Vyapam admitted in the High Court that 1020 forms were missing and 346 imposters had appeared in the exam. Vyapam officials admitted in the court that 1120 candidates appeared in the exam but their forms were missing because Vyapam official and accused Nitin Mahendra had tampered with the Computers in which the records were stored. The STF has presented charge-sheet against 28 accused, including Jagdish Sagar, in Indore Court. The fact that the charge-sheet includes details of 3292 different offences and more than 92,176 documents is indicative of the enormity of the scam.

Tricks involved in the Vyapan Scam

Initial probe [2009 – 2011]

Madhya Pradesh Local Fund Audit office for 2007-08 found several financial and administrative irregularities in MPPEB, including unauthorized disposal of application forms.

It was suspected that the application forms were being destroyed so that they could not be compared to exam admit cards and other records

In 2009, fresh complaints of irregularities in the pre-medical test (PMT) surfaced.Indore-based activist Anand Rai filed a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) requesting investigation into the scam.

In 2009, Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan set up a committee headed by the State Joint Director of Medical Education to probe the allegations.

In July 2011, MPPEB monitored 145 suspects during the Pre-Medical Test (PMT). Most of the suspects did not turn up, but 8 were caught for impersonating others.

Kanpur-based Satyendra Varma, arrested for accepting ₹ 4 lakh to appear in place of Ashish Yadav, in Indore.

15 exam toppers from the previous year appeared for the exam. Suspecting that these people were called in to impersonate others or to help candidates cheat by sitting adjacent to them, MPPEB asked them to explain their reasons for re-taking the exams.

The committee in 2009 submitted its report to the government in November 2011. It mentioned that 114 candidates had passed PMT using impersonation.

The candidates, mostly from rich families, had been impersonated by practicing doctors and talented medical students, some of whom had come from neighbouring states of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar.

The middlemen had charged each candidate ₹ 1-4 million.

The findings raised concern that several fake doctors might admitted through PMT in earlier years might have graduated as practitioners.

The possibility of government officials being involved in the scam was also mentioned.

In 2012, Indore police arrested 4 people who had come to impersonate candidates in the PMT exam. The arrested had been promised sums ranging from ₹ 25,000 to ₹ 50,000 each.

Vyapam Initial probe 2009- 2011

Probe on MP-PMT exam 2013

The massive scale of the Vyapam scam came to light in 2013.

On the night of 6-7 July, the Indore police arrested 20 people from various city hotels.

These people, 17 of whom were from Uttar Pradesh, had come to impersonate local candidates in the PMT exam scheduled on 7 July 2013.

The impersonators had been promised sums ranging from ₹ 50,000 to ₹ 100,000.

Based on information collected during the interrogation of these 20 impersonators, Indore police found out that an organized racket headed by Jagdish Sagar was involved in the scam.

Dr. Anand Rai submitted a complaint to the local Superintendent of Police (economic offence wing), seeking a detailed investigation. He sought probe into the role of MPPEB’s chairman, exam controller, assistant controller and deputy controller.

On 13 July, Jagdish Sagar was arrested in Mumbai.A list containing names of 317 students was confiscated from him.

MPPEB’s exam controller Pankaj Trivedi, who was not a suspect in the scam at that time, tried to protect these students. He sent a letter to various government departments and the deans of medical colleges, insisting that these students should be allowed admission once they sign an affidavit.

The affidavit would state that they didn’t use any unfair means, and that their admissions would be canceled if they were found guilty in the police investigations.

On 28 September 2013, Trivedi was also arrested, based on Jagdish Sagar’s interrogation.On 5 October, the Special Task Force (STF) of the police chargesheeted 28 people, including Jagdish Sagar.

In December 2013, the STF produced a 23,000-page supplementary chargesheet against 34 accused in the Indore district court. Out of these 34 accused chargesheeted, 30 were students and their guardians. Four others included Pankaj Trivedi, Dr. Sanjeev Shilpkar and Dr. Jagdish Sagar’s accomplice Gangaram Pipliya.

Other exams probed

In November 2013, the STF found that the scamsters had rigged five recruitment tests: Pre-PG, Food Inspector Selection Test, Milk Federation test, Subedar-Sub Inspector and Platoon Commander Selection Test and Police Constable Recruitment Test – all held during 2012 for government jobs in the state.

For Pre-PG Test of 2012, MPPEB’s former examination controller Dr Pankaj Trivedi and its system analyst Nitin Mahindra provided model answer keys to candidates through photocopies.

For the other four exams, the Vyapam officials manipulated the OMR answer sheets by taking them out of the strong room. Different FIRs against 153 people, including Sudhir Sharma, were filed. Sharma had earlier been interrogated by CBI in mining scam of Madhya Pradesh.

In March 2014, the government announced that the STF was investigating rigging of nine examinations, and 127 people had been arrested.

The previous years’ PMT exams were also investigated. The STF found that 286 candidates had cleared PMT-2012 through fraudulent means.

On 29 April 2014, 27 students of MGM Medical College in Indore were expelled for having used fraudulent means to clear PMT-2012.

In June 2014, the High Court asked the police why several of the accused in the case had not been arrested yet.

Following this, the STF made several arrests. On 15 June, the STF arrested the state’s former technical education minister and BJP leader Laxmikant Sharma for his alleged involvement in the contractual teachers recruitment scam.

On 18 and 19 June 2014, the police arrested over 100 medical students from different parts of the state, for their involvement in the PMT scam.

In September 2014, the STF revealed that Jagdish Sagar’s racket had also rigged the entrance exams for recruitment in SBI and other nationalized banks. These entrance exams included the Institute of Banking Personnel Selection’s exams and the SBI Probationary Officer’s exam.

Note: [All details are collected from internet and local newspapers]