New Delhi, April 3: The Centre today sought cancellation of this year’s All-India postgraduate medical entrance examination after evidence of high-technology cheating by some students at Chennai and Delhi centres.
A bench headed by Justice K.G. Balakrishnan, which heard the submission, refused cancellation without a probe to establish that the question paper that had leaked out of some examination halls had reached other centres.
While another doctor, who wrote the exam at a Chennai centre, and his engineer brother were held in Tamil Nadu today, taking the number of arrests in the scam to nine, the fate of over 4,000 candidates who passed the test has been thrown into uncertainty.
The court asked the government to conduct further investigations and place a status report on April 13, when a decision is likely.
Gopal Subramaniam, the additional solicitor-general, said preliminary investigations by the CBI had revealed that some students at the Delhi and Chennai centres had received answers on their mobile phones after the question paper, scanned by what was described as cameras the size of pens, was sent out.
He said the cancellation proposal was made after discussions with experts at the All-India Institute of Medical Sciences, which conducts the exam, to uphold the credibility of the process. “It was a painful decision taken in the larger public interest,” he said.
He proposed that the re-examination could be conducted on May 21 and the results declared on June 7, completing admission by July 31.
Appearing on behalf of 12 students on the merit list, former law minister Arun Jaitley said cancellation would not be justified with just 22 of the 36,954 students who took the exam being linked to the scandal. A decision could not be made simply in anticipation of more candidates being involved in the scam, he added.
He said many candidates on the merit list had not appeared for similar tests conducted by states and some had even resigned their jobs in expectation of admission. Jaitley argued that the rule mentioned in the prospectus barred guilty candidates from appearing in the test for two years. There was a mass cheating in Lucknow in the same exam in 2002 but it was not cancelled.
“We are not satisfied with the material placed before the court,” the bench said, asking for further investigation.