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  • The '100 Crore' 'Seat-Blocking' Scam in Karnataka's Medical, Engineering Colleges

    A 'seat blocking scam' worth Rs. 100 crore, involving engineering and medical students, has come to light in Karnataka in which about 39 alleged impersonators have been arrested till now.

    The scam was unearthed in the popular competitive exam ComedK (Consortium of Medical, Engineering, Dental Colleges of Karnataka), after the CISF arrested a few people at the Bangalore airport. More than 1,20,000 students appeared for the exam in May this year.

    Modus Operandi:

    Touts and agents first identify potential but 'vulnerable' student. Most of these students manage to crack the exam and appear year after year by faking a mark sheet. These students often cannot afford to pay fees in a private college so offer to help the touts in exchange of money ranging from Rs. 1-5 lakh. When the students clear the exam and earn a seat, they surrender it to the college just before admissions close. The college then turns the available seat into management quota to demand a huge sum as 'donation' - ranging from Rs. 5 lakh to even one crore for a seat.

    "We got several tip-offs from the arrested students following which we raided the ComedK office in Malleshwaram in Bangalore. We seized several important documents and applications which we are scanning to understand how deep this scandal runs. We are also investigating some courier companies where bulk bookings have been made for students from Lucknow, Patna and some from Karnataka too," Abhishek Goyal, DCP Crime, Bangalore, told NDTV.

    The scam has shaken the students who burn the midnight oil to get a seat into the college of their choice.

    "We put so much pressure on students to study because entry to a college can make or break their life. And here because of such cases, so many careers are at stake. They should get their right. Education system, mainly higher education in India has become too corrupt," said Deepak Koparde, father of an engineering aspirant Supriya.

    Four of those arrested are agents who have also appeared for the exams earlier. The mastermind of the scam, however, is still at large. Investigators also suspect involvement of some people from the state's top colleges. "We cannot take any names right now and at this stage of investigation it would be premature to add anything more to it. ComedK officials have cooperated well and helping us through the course of investigation," Mr Goyal added.

    None from the ComedK office was willing to comment. The higher education ministry of Karnataka says it is monitoring investigations and when results are out on June 4, more skeletons could roll - at a time when thousands of students wait anxiously in hope.source