A scandal involving the NEET medical entrance examinations that saw proxies being used to clear the test and payments of Rs 50 lakh per candidate has been unearthed, the CBI said on Wednesday, amid an uproar over suicides by students crushed by their results.
A Maharashtra-based coaching centre and several students have been charged in the scam, the CBI said, adding that candidates were charged as much as Rs 50 lakh to clear the highly competitive test that grants admissions to undergraduate medical courses.
Those behind the scam modified applicant data for the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET) and, in some cases, manipulated optical mark recognition (OMR) answer sheets to clear candidates who paid up, the CBI said.
The revelation comes amid a string of suicides in Tamil Nadu that prompted Chief Minister MK Stalin to make an emotional appeal last week to students stricken by the outcome of the test. Over the past few years, 15 medical aspirants have died by suicide in the state.
A 17-year-old girl died in Tamil Nadu last week allegedly by suicide, the third such death in less than a week. The daily wager’s daughter, who had appeared for NEET 2021, was anxious over clearing it. She had scored 84.9 per cent in Class 12.
“I beg of you, please do not end your lives. Nothing is impossible for you. Study with that confidence. Parents, too, should instil self-confidence in children and not stress them out,” Chief Minister Stalin said in his appeal, advising panicked children to talk to mental health experts by dialling 104.
Earlier this month, Tamil Nadu passed a new bill to stop NEET-based admission to medical courses. It would, however, only take effect after a sign-off by President Ram Nath Kovind, since it challenges a Central law.