Vyapam Scam: US Agency Helps Track Impersonators

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Bhopal: An external law enforcement and probe agency of the US has helped India’s central bureau of investigation (CBI) track unidentified impersonators accused in MP’s multi-layered Vyapam scam.

A highly advanced facial recognition software which has successfully been used by the US’ Federal Bureau of Investigation in past to track terror suspects has now been used to 125-plus men and women who helped medical aspirants pass the MP Pre Medical Test (MPPMT) to get admission into medical colleges in MP between 2008 and 2013.

According to highly placed CBI sources, 75 of these men and women who impersonated for actual candidates in the MBBS entrance test in six years have already been grilled in detail in three states, including UP, Bihar and Rajasthan.

Most of the 125-plus impersonators whose identity couldn’t be ascertained despite sustained efforts by CBI are students of medical colleges or medical entrance exam private coaching centers in these three states.

Unable to ascertain the actual identity of around 300 MPPMT impersonators, the CBI had declared Rs 10,000 bounty each for getting information about them, but it failed to deliver desired results.

Several government and private organizations, including central forensic science labs were roped in to help the CBI ascertain identity of these unidentified impersonators, which is crucial for proper investigations in 50-plus cases out of the total 170-odd Vyapam scam cases.

In 2016, the CBI spent six months developing database of mug shots of 9.5 lakh medical college students, medical aspirants and also private coaching students generated from six states, including UP, Bihar, MP, Delhi, Rajasthan and Maharashtra.

But sustained efforts by CBI to match pictures of unidentified MPPMT impersonators with help of central forensic science labs and private agencies turned futile.

In November 2016, the CBI sought the help of the US external law enforcement agency for its cause. Sources added that the 9.5 lakh strong pictures database of medical students and aspirants of six states along with pictures of 300 MPPMT impersonators were provided to the US agency.

These pictures were subsequently matched by the US agency’s experts possibly in the US, using the facial recognition software.

Around two and half months later, the US agency successfully ascertained the identity of 125 plus MPPMT impersonators and handed over results to the CBI.

This development is likely to make further inroads into the several alleged inter-state impersonation rackets that helped medical aspirants clear the MPPMT between 2008 and 2013.

In July 2013, the Vyapam scam was busted by the Indore police crime branch with arrest of 18 alleged impersonators from UP and Bihar in Indore.

The CBI took over the probe into the multi-layered scam on Supreme Court directions in 2015.