How cops busted multicrore cheating scam at Godhra NEET coaching centre

Students whose families paid bribes were told to skip questions for which they didn't know answers; these would be filled up later by teachers in the scam gang

bribe NEET
An FIR says four students paid Rs 66 lakh each while three others gave blank cheques to Roy Overseas, a NEET coaching centre operated by Parashuram Roy, a teacher in Gujarat’s Vadodara district. Representational image

In a shocking case of cheating and corruption, students in Gujarat who could cough up big money were told to leave blank questions they could not answer in the NEET examination held in March. In exchange for lakhs of rupees, these were later filled up teachers who were part of the scam.

Amid nationwide protests over the NEET exam, the police in Gujarat have made five arrests, uncovering a can of worms.

According to a police complaint filed in Godhra on June 13, the scam involves, as of now, 12 students, their parents and a coaching centre run by a group of teachers who decided to beat the system with bribe money.

The investigation revealed that three students gave blank cheques to the scamsters, indicating a major monetary transaction for misconduct in the exam, Godhra’s Superintendent of Police Himanshu Solanki, the investigating officer, told The Federal.

Bribe money

A First Information Report (FIR) states that four of the students paid Rs 66 lakh each while three others gave blank cheques to the centre, Roy Overseas, which was operated by Parashuram Roy, a teacher in Gujarat’s Vadodara district.

The students whose families paid money were told to skip questions whose answers they did not know. The answers would be written by teachers once the papers were submitted, said the FIR.

The parents paid Roy and his accomplices Tushar Bhatt and Arif Vora, who made Rs 2.82 crore in total.

Teacher under scrutiny

Bhatt, the primary accused, was a teacher at the Jay Jalaram School in Godhra. He was appointed as the Deputy Centre Superintendent for NEET-UG 2024 in Godhra.

Once the investigation started, he filed a routine bail application in the District Court of Godhra. After hearing the arguments, the judge withheld judgment.

The investigating team seized the teacher’s mobile phones, cash and a car, from where the money was recovered. It then submitted a report to the District Collector, who ordered the registration of an FIR, Solanki told The Federal.

More suspects are to be probed, added the officer.

How it was unearthed

The complaint regarding the cheating nexus was raised by a Gujarat-based education activist in May. The activist, who refused to be named, wrote to the District Collector, raising doubts about an examination centre in Godhra.

It was then that Bhatt was booked for reportedly telling one student to leave his paper blank in lieu of Rs 7 lakh as an advance to help the candidate get into the merit list. But the police did not probe into the matter further.

The case was set into motion again on June 13 after the Supreme Court served a notice on the issue. It was then revealed that Roy was in charge of roping in students for the scam. The answer sheets were to be filled up by Bhatt after the examination.

The gang

Roy reportedly operated the gang of cheats through a man identified as Arif Vohra. Roy sent the details of 26 candidates to Bhatt through Vohra.

Of these, six candidates wrote the exam at one branch of Jai Jalaram School and the remaining 20 appeared for the test at another branch of the school in Godhra.

“Bhatt has confessed to having promised to solve the question papers of at least six candidates in exchange for Rs 10 lakh each,” Kirit Patel, the District Education Officer, told The Federal.

Suspect school

When the NEET results were announced, six students from Gujarat finished in the top 100 of the examination and four of them secured a perfect score of 720 out of 720.

Two of the four students had taken their examination in Jay Jalaram School in Godhra, which is being probed by the police. The other two students are from Ahmedabad and Rajkot.

The inquiry findings came on June 13, the day the Union government told the Supreme Court that 1,564 students who got grace marks will have to again write the NEET examination.

Other states

A writ petition earlier filed by NEET-UG candidates in the Supreme Court sought a CBI investigation into the instances of manipulation in certain exam centres.

Amongst the centres under a shadow are those in Odisha, Karnataka, Jharkhand and the Jay Jalaram School in Godhra.
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