BHOPAL : The Vyapam scam that has escalated into a formidable opponent for Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan was not a swindle underpinned with sophisticated schemes. Those wanting places in colleges or government jobs paid bribes so they wouldn’t have to take qualifying exams. The cheating involved neither technical wizardry, nor covert maneuvering. It is the mounting allegations that 35 deaths are linked to the scam that has pushed the Vyapam headline beyond the borders of Madhya Pradesh into a national news point.
While officials say there is no sign of foul play, some families speak of murders being passed off as suicides, and of petty operators being jailed, while those with political clout remain untouched.
Of the nearly 2,000 people in prison, two-thirds are either students or their parents. Another 70 are described as middlemen.
They would identify students who were unlikely to clear the exams conducted by the state board Vyapam. After the student signed up, the identity card for the exam was doctored to match the bribe-giver’s name with the photo of a ‘scorer’- a hired proxy. After the results were declared, the proxy’s photo would be replaced with that of the student.
Supervisors for the exam were paid to ignore the mismatch between names and photos on identity cards.
Another route taken was to hire scorers who cleared the exam, then refused at the last minute to accept admission to colleges. Those spots would then be sold by college officials who pretended they were using ‘a management’ discretionary quota to fill the vacancies.
For students who could not afford a proxy, arrangements would be made to manipulate the seating plan for an examination hall. The scamsters would generate a roll number that would place the student right behind a scorer to allow easy copying of answers.
If scorers were in short supply, the student would take the test, and pay to have the marksheet manipulated with rudimentary computer software.