A 20-year-old medical student from the Madras Medical College was arrested on Wednesday, along with his 53-year-old father in connection with the NEET impersonation scam in Tamil Nadu. Police suspect that the father, K Deivendran, had paid Rs 20 lakh for an impersonator to write the exam in place of his son in Gaya, Bihar.
The medical student (whose name is withheld based on the Madras High Court's directive) passed the NEET exam in 2018 and is currently in his second year. His father is a businessman and the family is based in Hosur. Suspicious over the decision to write the exam in Bihar, the college which was scrutinising the documents of students, turned over the information to the CB-CID (Central Branch-Crime Investigation Department) which is investigating impersonation cases in the competitive exam.
According to a press release from the investigating officials, a case was filed based on these documents on January 28 and a probe was initiated.
"During the investigation, it was found that an impersonator has written the exam in his place. The student's father, Deivendran, has paid Rs 20 lakh to a broker for the same," it reads.
The father and son were arrested and produced in Saidapet court, where they were remanded to judicial custody.
The scam came to light in September last year when a medical student from Theni Medical College, came under scrutiny after a mismatch between his appearance in person and his photo on the NEET card. The student had already failed the NEET exam twice when he opted to write in Mumbai the third time. When colleges across the state began to compare the existing students with the photo in the NEET cards, there were atleast 10 more cases of suspected impersonation.
The modus operandi in these cases are strikingly similar. A broker acts as the middleman between a parent desperate to get their ward admitted in medical school and an impersonator who is capable of clearing the NEET exam. A minimum amount of Rs.20 lakh is collected from the parents with half given ahead of the exam and the other paid after the scores are out and are satisfactory. In most cases, including the latest one, the students is told to request for a NEET centre in another state to avoid detection by those around. While the first case saw Mumbai as the centre, Gaya in Bihar has been selected as a preferred centre in the latest case. The police and colleges are particularly scrutinising cases where the residence of the student and the centre chosen are in different states. Once the NEET scores are out, the student applies with the marks obtained to get his/her preferred college.