Hyderabad: The Telangana government on Tuesday cancelled a state-level medical and dental entrance examination after a leak of question papers last month. The cancellation, the second time in a year, means students aspiring for undergraduate medical and dental courses in Telangana will have to take their third entrance test in a year.
Two sets of medical exam question papers of Engineering, Agriculture and Medical Common Entrance Test (Eamcet) were found to be leaked to students who paid Rs.30-40 lakh to brokers. The re-exam was necessitated after a police probe found that 200 students from Andhra Pradesh and Telangana had access to question papers 48-72 hours before the exam.
Eamcet, the entry to bachelor of medicine and surgery (MBBS) and bachelor of dental surgery (BDS) courses in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, is one of the most competitive exams in the state. About 50,900 candidates competed for 2,650 MBBS and BDS seats this year.
After meeting police and education department officials, chief minister K. Chandrashekar Rao said the government was left with no choice but to order a retest.
After going through judgments of various high courts and the Supreme Court in similar cases, the chief minister and state officials concluded that a re-exam was necessary. “In previous instances when such incidents happened in India, the courts eventually called for a re-exam,” a statement from the chief minister’s office said.
Telangana conducted Eamcet-2 on 9 July following ambiguity over seat quota allotment for national eligibility cum entrance test (NEET). The first exam (Eamcet-I) was conducted on 15 May.
Besides, aspiring medical students also had to appear for a separate entrance test conducted by neighbouring Andhra Pradesh. AP and Telangana began conducting separate entrance exams following their bifurcation in June 2014.
Some parents of students who topped the second Eamcet exam (Eamcet-2) have been protesting outside the state secretariat to persuade the administration not to order a retest.
They reason that their wards are already under strain from writing three state-level exams in a year and a fourth test would be an undue burden on them. They want the government to disqualify students who have resorted to irregularities.
“When something unfortunate happens, some people will suffer,” chief minister Rao said. “Parents should understand our anguish and cooperate in the smooth conduct of re-test,” he added.
Telangana’s crime investigation department (CID), which began a probe last month blamed a Delhi-based racket for leaking the exam papers. The question papers are printed at a press in Delhi.
Four people, Mukul Jain, Mayank Sharma, Sunil Singh and Iqbal have been named as prime suspects in the case. In all, police have identified 34 brokers who conspired to sell leaked question papers to students trying to secure admission into undergraduate medicine and dental courses.
The police have arrested six brokers so far and are close to nabbing five more middlemen.
Chief minister Rao has asked police officials to also investigate parents of 200 students who paid money to the brokers.