The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Doctors fill cheating dock

Chennai, Dec. 28: As many as 27 doctors today stood charged in the AIIMS question paper leak case that symbolised the worst face of the rat race among the country’s educated elite.

The doctors accounted for more than half of the 52 people chargesheeted by the CBI for the ingenious caper that involved the use of a pen scanner and cellphone messages.

The 120-page chargesheet, filed in a special court by the agency’s anti-corruption wing in Chennai, came after a nine-month investigation that saw 11 people, including four doctors, named as the brains. The charges carry a maximum punishment of five years in jail.

The CBI had registered the case in March against 22 doctors who had appeared for the AIIMS postgraduate medical entrance examination early this year following a complaint from the Union health ministry.

An analysis of the answer-sheets from Tamil Nadu revealed a “similarity in the pattern of answering” and “the methodology adopted”, the CBI said. During the probe, the CBI found that two candidates in different examination centres in Chennai had scanned the question paper using the scanner called docupen.

A curious pattern followed by the accused candidates emerged. From 10 am, when the exam began, to 11.15 am, none answered any question. They started writing only in the second half, which is when they received the answers.

Among the 11 named as the masterminds are Ravi Kannan, Vijay Kanna and Baskar — doctors at the Jawaharlal Institute of Post-Graduate Medical Education and Research (Jipmer) in Pondicherry — Satish Kumar, a second-year paediatrics intern at Madurai Medical College, and Professor Kathamuthu of Madras Presidency College, who was a supervisor. Presidency was one of the exam centres.

The conspirators had “meticulously planned the whole operation”, the chargesheet said. They directed the candidates to buy prepaid SIM cards in fictitious names, which were to be destroyed later, it added. However, based on disclosures by the accused, the CBI traced the messages.

Amounts ranging from Rs 2-30 lakh are believed to have been collected from the candidates, the CBI said. Kannan, it added, pocketed Rs 72 lakh.

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