Telangana medical entrance test papers were leaked from a printing press in Delhi and a gang of mafia sold them to at least 136 parents at a price of Rs 60 lakh per head, 15 days before the test was conducted on 9 July. As a result, the state government has cancelled the Eamcet-2 (Engineering, agriculture and medical entrance test) and is set to hold it again in the last week of August.
The ease with which the gang members, some of whom had earlier been arrested in similar question paper leakage cases, managed to get the two sets of Eamcet-2 shocked the sleuths of Telangana CID, who probed the leak and submitted a report to Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao (KCR) on Friday. The CID officials told the media that the test papers were printed at the Kapoor Printing Press on the outskirts of Delhi.
The cops are still investigating whether the owners of the printing press were hand-in-glove with the gang led by Mohammad Khalid or just some of its employees had done it for money. The printing press, known for high security features is also the printer of many competitive exams held by the education boards from several northern states. The cops are probing whether the top officials of the Jawaharlal Nehru Technological University (JNTU) based out of Hyderabad had any role in the leak. Usually, the JNTU, which holds the Eamcet every year, gets two sets of question papers with 160 marks printed in two different printing presses from two cities. But, this year, both the sets were printed at Kapoor Press and both got leaked.
The cancellation of Eamcet-2 has created chaos in Hyderabad as over 56,000 students who appeared for the medical stream had to re-appear for the test in a month.
Most of the medical school aspirants will be writing their sixth entrance test this year — as already they appeared for NEET 1 or 2, Eamcet 1 and 2 held by both Telangana and Andhra Pradesh in the past two months. Hundreds of Eamcet-2 rankers and their parents took out rallies in Hyderabad demanding that the test should not be scrapped, as it would plunge their future into a crisis.
The police arrested them when they tried to march towards the Secretariat to meet the ministers and submit a memorandum on Friday. Some students sobbed inconsolably and pleaded with the cops not to cancel the test. They demanded that the government should only cancel the ranks of the 130 odd students who had purchased the question paper, but not scrap the entire test. “Why should we who studied hard and scored good ranks be punished for no fault of ours? Already, we have appeared for five medical entrance tests this season and cannot take any more,” Ch Keerthi, an Eamcet 17th ranker told this newspaper on Saturday.
But the Chief Minister was told by the top officials and the cops who investigated the leak that the rules of the Eamcet would not permit taking action against only the accused and allow others to take admissions in case the question paper was leaked. “There are many legal problems to punish only the accused, and we have no other option but to cancel the whole exam,” additional CID D.G. Satyanarain said.
So far, the CID has arrested six persons — Rajagopala Reddy, Shaik Ramesh, Tarun Raj, A. Venkata Ramana, Tirumal and Bandaru Ravindra — in the scam and is searching for a few more persons including the mafia kingpin Khaleel. Rajagopala Reddy was arrested in 2007 and 2010 in a medical entrance tests question papers leak in Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka. Currently, he is out on bail. The CID estimated that the mafia entered into deals worth Rs 80 crore with parents for leaking the papers. The gang took the students to different cities and handed over the papers so that they could practise the answers. Telangana political joint action committee chairman M. Kodandaram demanded the resignation of both medical and health and higher education ministers in the Eamcet-2 scam. He also demanded that the investigation should be handed over to the CBI, instead of the state CID.