- The Leak: Telangana CID officials found that the TS-EAMCET-2 paper was leaked from Kapoor Printers in New Delhi.
- The Tap: The prime accused, S Rajagopal Reddy, is a well-known broker for many medical colleges in Karnataka.
- The Accusation: Telangana TD’s working president Revanth Reddy says a top TRS leader is responsible for the leak.
Like many other parents, a civil engineer from Warangal, Ravi Gundaboina, took leave earlier this year from his employers in Qatar and Oman to help his daughter prepare for the state-level EAMCET (Engineering and Medical Common Entrance Test) held on July 9.
With parents determined to see their children through medical and engineering tests, this was hardly unusual. But once the results were declared, just four days later on July 13, he found that three of the 19 students who had taken admission on June 1 in NR’s Brilliant Academy at Vijayawada, and who had gone missing a week before the test, had secured ranks highly inconsistent with their internal scores and earlier attempts.
One of them had been ranked 9,150 in AP-EAMCET, but was placed 295th in the Telangana test. Another student who had gone missing had ranked below 26,900 in the AP exam but was placed at 704 in Telangana. Similarly, the third student also ranked 904 in Telangana while in AP she had been placed below nearly 27,000 other examinees.
The engineer began voicing his apprehension of a question paper leak when he heard of one of the girls, who had gone ‘missing’, saying that they had gone to Bangalore on a “secret” trip just before the test. On July 19, deputy CM and education minister Kadiam Srihari vehemently denied Gundaboina’s allegations of a possible leak. Even health and medical education minister C. Laxma Reddy said that a leak would be impossible.
However, pressure from the parents of students who had taken the test forced the Telangana government to order a CID inquiry. Soon enough, startling facts started coming to light. The CID discovered that middle-class parents of aspirants from small towns in both Andhra Pradesh and Telangana had paid between Rs 10-50 lakh to have access to the EAMCET-2 paper. The students were taken to destinations such as Mumbai, Pune, Delhi, Bangalore and even Hyderabad, where they spent a few days with the question paper and answer key while their mobiles phones were confiscated. All this happened a week before the test on July 1.
In the first round of investigation, five people, including a seasoned ‘paper-leak’ broker, 65-year-old Sanikam Rajagopal Reddy from Bangalore, were arrested. The police identified four students from Adilabad district, Telangana, who had fared poorly in EAMCET-1, but had done extremely well in EAMCET-2. One of them was reportedly taken to Hyderabad, where he was ‘trained’ for the exam. In another instance, two brokers—Vishnudhar and Jyothi Babu—took 20 students from Vijayawada and Hyderabad to Bangalore. They collected Rs 1.73 crore and a lion’s share (Rs 1.25 crore) went to Rajagopal Reddy.
About Rs 35 lakh were collected from students by two men, Venkata Ramana and B. Ravi, who run a coaching institute in Hyderabad by the name of Resonance Medical Academy. They sent four of their students to Pune through a broker named Shaik Raheem.
Meanwhile, the opposition party, the Congress, says the scam could actually be to the tune of Rs 100 crore. Congress leader Mohammed Ali Shabbir says a company called Magnetic Infotech Pvt Ltd, owned by a close friend of IT, industries and panchayat raj minister K.T. Rama Rao, had been given the contract of online and offline registrations, printing of OMR sheets and biometric attendance for EAMCET-2. “This was done despite Magnetic Infotech being blacklisted by the Board of Intermediate Education and the SSC Board,” says Ali, who believes the EAMCET scam could be bigger than the Vyapam scam.
“The EAMCET has turned into a badly directed movie with too many sequels,” says a parent whose daughter has taken three of the tests so far. The day the CID confirmed that the question paper had been leaked, she locked herself up for hours in her room. “We were terrified. She had worked so hard for the entrance exam. Now, she seems to be in no shape to appear for the EAMCET-3,” says the distressed father.
As it is, there was massive confusion over the NEET this year. Now, because of the leak, a paper that demands much out of students has had to be cancelled.
By Madhavi Tata in Hyderabad