| The entrance of the two institutes run by the men arrested for the medical entrance test racket. Pictures by Sanjoy Chattopadhyaya
A 25-year-old woman named Smita Chatterjee, who works as an agent for several distance learning courses, was arrested in Durgapur on Sunday in connection with the medical entrance test scam.
Smita, who is married to a marine engineer, had introduced a candidate at this year’s joint entrance examination to the kingpins of the racket. The candidate, a girl, paid Rs 6 lakh to enrol in one of their institutes.
A second-year medical student in a university near Kanpur wrote the girl’s medical entrance and secured for her a rank in the 700s. The Kanpur student is now on the run.
Her name was on a list of five-six ‘dummies’ — who appeared for medical entrance tests in place of the candidates — found by the detective department. All the dummies are medical students from Uttar Pradesh.
The investigators said that several doctors and medical students from the state, in addition to the three arrested, are involved in the scam. Since most of the dummies were in the second or third year of their medical course, securing a high rank in the joint entrance was easy for them.
“The racket spread far and wide. We are tracking down those involved in the racket but would not like to reveal information we have found about them at this stage,” said detective chief Ajoy Kumar.
Senior professors from medical colleges outside Bengal used to teach at Meditrance, the institute run by Mihir Kumar Jha, a first-year postgraduate student of SSKM and one of the arrested trio, the police have learnt.
“Jha owns two cars and would pay his agents Rs 40,000 for each candidate they persuaded to take admission in the institute. This year, he paid income-tax of about Rs 5 lakh. The evidence suggests that he runs the institute successfully and there were doctors with him in addition to his own set of support staff,” said a senior police officer.
The doctors and medical students were lured by high returns, added the officer. Preliminary probe suggests that a dummy would make between Rs 1 lakh to Rs 1.5 lakh for writing the entrance test for a candidate. An agent would get between Rs 30,000 and Rs 40,000 for persuading a candidate to enrol at the institutes.
Ranvijay Pathak, an MBBS student and another of the three arrested, was “an understudy of Jha”, said the detective chief. “When Pathak saw money flowing in, he decided to open a separate institute. Both the institutes would bring in dummies from outside the state and put them up in a hotel before the entrance examinations.”
On Saturday, police had raided a city hotel and the two institutes to seize documents related to the racket. Efforts were made to extract information from Jha’s laptop.
The investigators said that Jha, who graduated from Medical College and Hospital, has stored the details of most of his transactions in the laptop. It may also contain a list of candidates who enrolled with the centres.