Wednesday, November 14, 2012

PGI exam: More candidates benefited from racket; under CBI radar

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has found that the number of persons who benefited from the gang which used hi-tech gadgets for cheating in the entrance exam for the postgraduate courses in Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER) was much more than initially thought.

While the central agency arrested seven "candidates" who had facilitated the leak of paper, others who benefited from the whole racket - mostly hailing from Andhra Pradesh -escaped arrest. However, they are under the CBI scanner.

A senior CBI official confirmed that students who were part of the cheaters' racket could be more than the initial estimate of around 20. The racket kingpin P Gurivi Reddy had taken a huge amount from these candidates.

CBI sources asserted that it was only after deeper probe that they came to know that the entire racket was orchestrated to help out several others, who managed to escape the CBI net during the raids.

Sources insisted that they were scanning the intricate details of the gang's modus operandi and its communication with candidates involved in the racket. It would be an arduous task to sieve through 7,000 candidates across 11 centres to catch hold of the culprits.

The officer of the central agency told Hindustan Times that kingpin Reddy had charged around Rs. 20 lakh per student who were helped through unfair means in the exam.

It was learnt that the CBI sleuths did not frisk all candidates taking exam at the raided centres since they had information about seven candidates only. CBI officials assert that PGI authorities should have frisked candidates properly before letting them in at the examination centres.

How the gang was unearthed
The CBI got a tip-off through an anonymous mail on November 9 about the hi-tech mass copying gang that was planning to use unfair means in entrance test for admissions to the PGI postgraduate courses on November 10.

The CBI later informed the PGI about impending raids at examination centres across Chandigarh. Subsequently, raids were conducted at 11 centres, and seven young women appearing in the exam arrested from four centres. Kingpin Reddy, hailing from Hyderabad, was arrested with eight others from KC Residency Hotel, Sector 35.

Sophisticated gadgets
Women involved in cheating used sophisticated electronic gadgets concealed in their clothes, even undergarments, and hair. CBI sources said the gang had a collection of sleek and sophisticated mobile phones, transmitters, micro earphones and SIM cards. Bluetooth devices used had high frequency range.

Around 20 mobile phones, transmitters and more than 30 SIM cards have been seized from the accused. The CBI asserts that the gadgets were procured from New Delhi, and the source of funding was being looked into.

Case status
The 15 accused have since been remanded in CBI custody till November 15. The CBI is now looking into the involvement, if any, of the gang in other exams in the past. The central agency is also probing the number of persons who might have benefited from the gang racket. Meanwhile, accused Gangadhar Reddy, who was arrested by CBI sleuths from Patna, joined investigations in Chandigarh on Monday. The CBI has also nabbed seven experts from a hotel in Hyderabad on charge of helping Reddy in solving the question paper.

Two of the young women candidates are said to be only matriculates, while some are pursuing BSc and MSc courses. These "candidates" were to be paid anywhere between Rs. 20,000 and Rs. 2 lakh.

Who is Gurivi Reddy?
P Gurivi Reddy, the 31-year-old kingpin, is a medical dropout from Hyderabad. His name had earlier surfaced in an Engineering, Agriculture and Medicine Common Entrance Test (EAMCET)-2010 in Hyderabad. Reddy had taken up to Rs. 10 lakh from students who were helped in cheating in EAMCET exam. But at that time too, his plan had fizzled out and he was arrested from Hyderabad. Reddy, sources said, began building up his gang about four years back. He was found cheating in a medical examination using sophisticated pen-scanners and micro-earphones with Bluetooth facility and arrested by Andhra Pradesh police. Reddy had ordered for specially stitched clothes for women candidates appearing in PGI entrance test. CBI sources asserted that Reddy was under debt after losing big money in the share market. He then hatched a plan to form a gang of cheaters to help medical students pass exams.

A recap
Recce: Kingpin P Gurivi Reddy conducted a recce at Chandigarh for two days before finalising his plan to help candidates in their entrance test. The gang carried out a "dummy run" by scanning dummy papers and transmitting the same to outstation experts after reaching the city on November 8. The Bluetooth devices were also checked to rule out any last minute glitches.

Dummy candidates: Seven women dummy candidates were sent to examination centres set up in Chandigarh schools. In their special suits were hidden tablets and buttonhole cameras. They clicked images of question papers through spy camera and transmitted these through the tablet.

Base camp: A base camp was set up at a Sector 35 hotel from where the questions were transmitted to experts stationed in Hyderabad and Patna.

Experts: The experts in Hyderabad and Patna dictated the answers to the several beneficiaries at several exam centres through micro earphones.

End users: Several candidates took the help of the gang. At least 20 more candidates wearing Bluetooth apparatuses were helped with answers by the experts. These persons managed to escape action during the CBI raid.



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