News Brief

Explained: How The Godhra NEET Scam Worked By Exploiting OMR Sheet Marking

Swarajya Staff

Jun 15, 2024, 10:07 PM | Updated 10:18 PM IST

Image for Representational Purpose Only (Sanjeev Verma/Hindustan Times via Getty Images)
Image for Representational Purpose Only (Sanjeev Verma/Hindustan Times via Getty Images)

A major cheating 'scam' in the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET) has come to light in Godhra, Gujarat after a raid at an exam centre. According to the police investigation as reported by The Print, it involved a nexus between a coaching institute and staff at the exam centre where the NEET was conducted.

The scam involved students being instructed by the accused to "fill in as many slots on the OMR sheet as they could" during the NEET exam at the Jay Jalaram School exam centre on May 5th. As per the FIR filed by Godhra police, "teachers from the coaching institute were supposed to fill in the rest after the answer keys were out." Their parents are suspected to have paid Rs 10 lakh each for this service.

The Print reports that the "lid on the 'scam' was blown off during a raid at the exam centre following a tip-off by the district magistrate of the city." The scam was stopped around 10 am after an inspection by the education department.

Key Accused and Modus Operandi

The police have arrested several key accused who were involved in executing this cheating racket. Those arrested include Parshuram Roy, owner of the Roy Overseas coaching institute in Vadodara, Vibhor Anand, an education consultant who got students admitted to Roy's institute, Purshottam Sharma, the principal of Jai Jalaram School which was a NEET exam centre, Tushar Bhatt, the deputy superintendent at the NEET centre who was a physics teacher at the school anb Arif Vora who worked with Bhatt

As per the Godhra Deputy SP N.V. Patel, "They asked those students to answer whatever questions they knew and submit the rest of the sheet. They would then keep those sheets separately and answer the questions themselves. Whatever was left, they would then tick off after the answer key was uploaded."

The Print cites sources saying Bhatt "was directly in touch with Roy's coaching institute" and had the roll numbers of at least 16 students whose parents had paid money to cheat. "Bhatt would allegedly look after the filling in of the answer sheets" after the exams.

The scam took advantage of the time gap between the exam ending and answer sheets being collected from the centre. The coaching institute would allegedly put out the answer key just 30 minutes after the exam ended.

Large Sums Involved

The police investigation found staggering sums of money were involved. Each student's parents paid around Rs 10 lakh on average for the cheating service. Some even paid over Rs 2 crore to the accused for getting their children admitted overseas.

The police recovered Rs 7 lakh cash from Bhatt's car, and numerous bounced cheques worth Rs 2.3 crore from Roy's office along with 8 blank cheques. Their basic plan was to demand large advance fees from parents in the range of Rs 30-60 lakh.

With assistance from the National Testing Agency which conducts NEET, the police are now trying to identify all the students who benefited from this organized cheating racket.

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