One complaint received from Kochi; several students yet to submit fingerprints
An exercise undertaken by the Madras High Court to dig deep into the issue of impersonation in the National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test (NEET) might lead to many skeletons tumbling out of the closet as the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) disclosed that it had received one complaint from Kochi in Kerala, apart from Chennai.
Justices N. Kirubakaran and P. Velmurugan were also informed that though they had ordered cross-checking of fingerprints of all students who had got admitted in MBBS course this year, about 16 of them were yet to give their fingerprints, citing reasons of ill health and one of them rushed to court seeking anticipatory bail.
The counsel for Sree Balaji Medical College in Chennai stated that two of its students were yet to give fingerprints since they were not in station. The Chettinad Hospital and Research Institute said two of its students were bedridden due to viral fever and hence they were unable to give their fingerprints to the Crime Branch-Criminal Investigation Department.
SRM Medical College said that one of its students was yet to give his fingerprint. Though all the private institutions assured that their students would give their fingerprints at the earliest, Ramachandra Medical College and Research Institute said one of its students failed to give his fingerprint and he had instead filed an anticipatory bail petition.
Counsel for Meenakshi Medical College stated that three of its students were yet to give their fingerprints and that they shall give it at the earliest.
After recording their submissions, Justice Kirubakaran suggested that the Selection Committee of Directorate of Medical Education itself could obtain fingerprints at the time of admissions from next year.
They also recorded the submission of K. Srinivasan, special public prosecutor for CBI cases, that the two complaints received by it from Chennai were forwarded to the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare as well the Medical Council of India (MCI) whereas the complaint from Kochi was still under its consideration.
The judges directed Assistant Solicitor General G. Karthikeyan to find out from the Ministry by November 21 as to whether the complaints of impersonation in NEET were received from other States. The directions were issued during the course of hearing of a writ appeal related to alleged misuse of NRI quota seats in medical admission.
Appellant’s counsel M. Velmurugan said his client could not secure a medical seat despite scoring 303 marks in NEET, while nearly 200 students who had scored less than him got admission in private medical colleges under the lapsed NRI quota seats that were sent back by the Selection Committee to the respective colleges. Stating that the objective behind introduction of NEET would not be served if less meritorious candidates get admitted in medical colleges, the judges directed advocate V.R. Raman representing the MCI to look into the issue and come up with solutions to prevent alleged misuse of lapsed NRI quota seats.
During the course of arguments, the judges were also told that the Selection Committee of DME had forwarded a list of newly admitted MBBS students to Tamil Nadu Dr. MGR Medical University for registering their names. The list contained the names of those who were suspected to be involved in impersonation, the university counsel claimed.
However, advocate Abdul Saleem, representing the Selection Committee, stated that those names had been deleted. Finding that Dr. MGR Medical University was a necessary party to the litigation, the judges suo motu included it as one of the respondents and adjourned the case to November 21 for submission of report by CB-CID.