IPS trainee officer Safeer Karim who was caught allegedly cheating in the UPSC (Main) examination by IB sleuths on October 30 and was subsequently arrested by Chennai police, may have been involved in a wider racket in helping other candidates cheat as well.
Karim had used Bluetooth-enabled devices, a wireless modem and a miniature camera attached to a shirt button to send images of the question paper to his wife Joicy Joy in Hyderabad and accomplices in Kerala as well, as per a report in the Times of India.
According to a Chennai police team probing the case, he could have used the same method to help candidates of coaching centres he operated in Hyderabad, Kochi and Thiruvananthapuram pass the UPSC exams.
â€œWe are checking Karim's Google Drive account because he used it to transfer images of the UPSC Mains question papers in Chennai and, earlier, those of the preliminary exam that he took in Madurai,â€œ an investigating officer told TOI.
Making use of the same electronic devices and Googleâ€™s cloud storage system, Kareem could have helped candidates from his institute cheat successfully in the UPSC exams and other competitive tests, the officer added.
Karim's case had caught widespread media attention as the method he had used to allegedly cheat in the exam was eerily reminiscent of a scene from the hit Sanjay Dutt film Munna Bhai MBBS. What was ironic about this is that it was another film that had reportedly first inspired Karim to opt for the IPS.
In a 2015 interview, Safeer had told a Malayalam daily that the Suresh Gopi-starrer Commissioner had inspired him to become a police officer. He had even met the actor-turned-MP at one point and expressed his gratitude, besides clicking a picture of himself hugging Suresh Gopi.
Image courtesy: Facebook/Safeer Karim
Besides Karim, police have also arrested his wife and his associate P Rambabu, who operated La Excellence Coaching Centre in Hyderabad.
Two other accomplices - Mohammed Shaheeb Khan and Samjad, who were in charge of the coaching centres in Kerala have also been apprehended.
So far, at least 11 cellphones, one laptop, one tablet, four hard disks and a pen drive have been seized from the accused and they have been sent to the forensic sciences lab in Mylapore for tests.
However, contrary to earlier police statements, another investigating officer on Monday clarified that Karim did not carry a cellphone into the UPSC (Main) exam centre in Presidency Higher Secondary School for Girls, Egmore, when IB sleuths caught him.