Eight student impersonators arrested, probe on

Alert Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) deputed at the Bengaluru International Airport (BIA) helped the police bust a professional courses seat-blocking racket here on Tuesday and in this connection, 8 medical students were arrested as they were trying to flee to their respective States. All have been charged with impersonation in relation to the recent Consortium of Medical Engineering and Dental Colleges of Karnataka (COMEDK) undergraduate entrance test (UGET) held here.

The students, from Bihar and Jharkhand studying medicine in colleges across the country, were nabbed when CISF personnel casually questioned three of them when they were waiting at the airport. When the trio did not give convincing replies, the CISF personnel asked them to produce their IDs. The details on the ID cards did not match their claims on age and name. While subjected to detailed questioning, the students spilled the beans, leading to five more arrests. Enquiries found that the eight had also booked their flight tickets by producing fake IDs, the police said.

Modus operandi

The accused, police said, are part of an inter-State seat-blocking racket and impersonate candidates to enable the latter secure high marks and get a seat in reputed colleges through COMEDK. Once the seat is awarded, a local tout, who is the link between the private college managements and the impersonator, ensures that the seat is not taken. This way, the colleges retain the seat under management quota. Such seats are sold at exorbitant prices, and the money be shared between the touts and the colleges, while the impersonators would get a small share, the police said.

The police are also on the lookout for another medical student, Vinod, studying in a city college, who was allegedly the middleman in arranging for these impersonators to write the exams and surrender the seats. “In fact, the impersonators already signed forms surrendering the seat and handed over them to Vinod before heading to the airport to return to their hometowns,” the police said.

The eight arrests are just a tip of the iceberg as several people, including private college managements, are hand in glove in the racket, police said. Investigations are on to know the modus operandi and how the accused managed to hoodwink the foolproof security checks of the COMEDK examinations, the police said. “We are following their leads and prima facie investigation reveals that there 20 others involved in this racket,” said a police officer, adding that efforts are on to arrest them.

In CCB custody

Meanwhile, the Central Crime Branch police have taken seven of the eight suspects into custody for further investigations. They were officials produced before the magistrate.

“We are probing the role of colleges in the scam,” an official said.

COMEDK ‘unaware’

Asked to comment, COMEDK chief executive A.S. Srikanth claimed ignorance, saying that he would react only after seeing the first information report (FIR) and went on to question the jurisdiction of the CISF on matters pertaining to the COMEDK. He also refused to comment on how such blatant instances of impersonation could take place in the face of its much-touted security.

“I will comment only after seeing the FIR. I have to be sure of the connection of the case with COMEDK. Once that is done, action will be taken as per law,” he said.

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