A new scandal seems to be emerging with the latest Hindustan Times report discovering a section of High NEET qualifiers colluding with the private colleges to block seats and give them upat the last minute, in order to assist the private institutions to sell them to low-rank holders.
The current admission scam saw the HT reporting team discover that high-scoring NEET candidates blocked the seats in the initial counselling rounds and withdrew towards the end of it all so that colleges could barter the vacancies for money so that the colleges could trade the vacancies for money.
Private colleges in at least three states – Puducherry, Karnataka, and Bihar, are being suspected to have been involved in the corrupt practice, commission agents told HT.
Following is supposed to have been the modus operandi: A high-rank holder, with an admission granted in a state like Uttar Pradesh, goes to Bihar, appears in the first or second round of counselling and blocks a seat.
According to an agent, their role in this entire exercise involves that of being mediators for a cost.
“We acted as a mediator between the college and some of the high-rank holders. The deal varied between Rs 5 lakh to 20 lakh depending upon the colleges,” the agent added.
With the initial counseling rounds over, the Supreme Court directive allows the designated authorities to provide a list of candidates in the order of merit to the colleges in the ratio 1:10, which means a list containing ten times more candidates than vacant seats.
“When it went to the college level, the high-rank holders withdrew their claims increasing the vacancy and giving opportunities to colleges to use its own discretion,” the agent stated.
It has been observed that Colleges give seats to candidates outside the list provided by the counseling authorities as well.
Prabhat Kumar, Director of Medical Education, Bihar admitted to the happenings.“We asked candidates to deposit demand drafts in the name of the colleges. Perhaps that allowed candidate to collude with colleges to block seats,” says Kumar.“The last-minute vacancy trend shows that seats were blocked. We will take steps to prevent that next time.”
Dr Sachidanand, Director Medical Education, Karnataka too admitted that there were possibilities of blocking of the seat in such a manner, because the Karnataka Examination Authority (KEA), Incharge -Counselling, didn’t deposit original certificates of candidates.
“We thought it would cause inconvenience to the students,” Dr Sachidanand tried to explain to the daily.
However, commission agents claim that the modus operandi is different in Karnataka.
“Seats were allotted in private colleges but the first-year fee worth Rs 6.32 lakh was deposited with the KEA. So the college agreed to pay the candidate the first year fee along with the commission to block the seat because the candidate has to forfeit Rs 6.32 lakh for the withdrawal,” admit agents.
The Central Admission Committee (CENTAC), Puducherry the authority designated for counselling, discovered that the mop-up round showed vacant seats to be 96, however, colleges were found to have admitted more than 150 students.
“It means dozens of students had blocked the seat and withdrew at the last moment,” said a senior CENTAC official.
It has been observed that of the list of 960 aspirants that CENTAC submitted to private colleges not a single was admitted.
When contacted, PT Rudra Goud, Co-ordinator, CENTAC said, “We have received admission details from all the colleges and we are examining it.”
Punjab and Rajasthan, however, denied possibilities of such acts of seat blocking happening in the two states. as officials said that they didn’t hand over seats to the colleges beforehand.
“Even the last candidate who was allotted seat in a college was through government counselling,” said Dr Raj Bahadur, Vice Chancellor, Baba Farid University of Health Sciences.