Madras HC impleads I-T dept in NEET scam case

The Madras High Court on Friday impleaded the Income Tax department in a case related to NEET impersonation scam, citing huge cash seizures made by the I-T sleuths during raids on a coaching centre in Tamil Nadu and on medical colleges in Bengaluru.

A division bench comprising Justices N Kirubakaran and P Velmurugan said the seized cash was alleged to have been paid for admission in medical colleges.

It impleaded the Director of Income Tax (Investigation), New Delhi, as a party respondent to the proceedings related to impersonation in the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test for medical admissions.

The I-T department had on October 12 said it seized Rs 30 crore unaccounted cash during raids on a group running the coaching centre in Namakkal on the basis of intelligence inputs that it was indulging in substantial tax evasion by "suppression" of fee receipts received from students.

It had also found Rs 150 crore undisclosed income of the group.

After the recent raids in Karnataka which included colleges run by a trust of former deputy chief minister and Congress leader G Parameshwara and a prominent business group, the department had said it detected "undisclosed" income of around Rs 100 crore and seized assets worth Rs 8.82 crore.

The unaccounted income was worked out considering the cash donations received for 185 seats averaging Rs 50 lakh to Rs 65 lakh per seat.

The court is hearing a petition filed by S Dheeran, an aspiring medical student, for a direction to the Tamil Nadu government for undertaking proper counselling and 'mop-up procedure' to fill the 207 management quota MBBS seats in various colleges.

It has widened the scope of the petition taking note of the NEET impersonation scam which surfaced last month when a suspicion was raised over a first year MBBS student of Theni Medical College. Investigations had revealed he had secured the admission using the marks scored by a proxy candidate.

After questioning of the student, his father, a government doctor, and an agent, all three arrested, it came to light that a number of other students from Tamil Nadu had used foul means to get admission in the MBBS course and lakhs of rupees reportedly changed hands.

The court had earlier impleaded the Human Resource Development Ministry.

When the matter came up for hearing on Friday, counsel appearing for Saveetha Deemed University here and Christian Medical College (CMC) in Vellore submitted they will file the list of candidates who have been admitted in the two institutions so that their thumb impressions can be obtained.

The bench then said all medical colleges in Tamil Nadu -- government, private and deemed universities -- shall send a list of admitted students to the National Testing Agency, which conducted the NEET, by e-mail on or before October 30.

On receipt of the communications, the NTA shall forward the original thumb impression of all the admitted candidates in the state to the CB-CID police, probing the impersonation scam, it said and posted the petition to November 4 for further hearing.

The court had on October 16 directed the NTA to send all details of candidates, including thumb impressions, to the Tamil Nadu CB-CID police, probing the impersonation scam.

Complying with it, the NTA on Thursday informed the court that it has sent thumb impressions of 4,250 candidates admitted to MBBS courses in the state and the finger prints of those admitted to deemed universities in the state alone were yet to be forwarded.

The NTA has submitted the thumb impressions were collected when the students appeared for NEET across the country.

These thumb impressions would be compared with those obtained from the colleges to find out if there was any mismatch.

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