Though the Vyapam scam has its roots in Madhya Pradesh, the branches spread to Kanpur, Lucknow and some small cities in Uttar Pradesh.
A unit of the Madhya Pradesh Special Task Force went to Lakhimpur district on July 8 in search of an accused, Manoj Kumar Maurya. They raided his house in Sahjana village, but Manoj was missing. The police are now scanning the rural areas of the state for “scorers”, impersonators who took the pre-medical test for students in Madhya Pradesh.
It is believed that many bright students from various coaching centres in Kanpur had, in a bid to make quick money, become scorers in the Madhya Pradesh pre-medical test. In 2013, Indore police arrested 20 impersonators, of whom 17 were from Uttar Pradesh. The STF, which was formed in August 2013, has raided several medical colleges in the state and has arrested 36 students so far.
The STF is now tracking more than 150 students from Ganesh Shankar Vidyarthi Memorial Medical College, King George's Medical University and UP Rural Institute of Medical Sciences and Research in Saifai. The UP Police say that, of the 150 students, 52 are from Kanpur, 40 from Lucknow and the remaining from Jhansi, Gorakhpur and Allahabad.
In June, the Special Investigation Team, formed by the Madhya Pradesh High Court, declared 34 medical students of GSVM Medical College as absconders and announced a reward of Rs2,000 for information on them.
Said an owner of a coaching centre in Kanpur: “Majority of these accused students said to be involved in Vyapam scam are from the Kakadeo area of Kanpur, which is a hub of medical coaching.” He said the rate of fixing seats ranged from Rs2 lakh to Rs40 lakh, depending on the course and the college.
The Kanpur connection first came to light in 2011, when an investigation committee formed by Vyapam caught Kanpur-based Satyendra Varma, who had allegedly taken Rs4 lakh to write the test for a candidate called Ashish Yadav.
Apparently, Kanpur was the centre where deals were struck between owners of coaching centres, scorers, middlemen and real candidates.
Further investigation revealed that many candidates had used the same email ID to file the examination form. This ID belonged to Hasmat Ali of Etawah, who was a student of the UP Rural Institute of Medical Science and Research.
In another UP connection, Shailesh Yadav, son of Madhya Pradesh Governor Ram Naresh Yadav, was found dead under mysterious circumstances at his Lucknow residence. Shailesh was wanted by the STF for his involvement in the scam.