PESHAWAR: Police on Friday claimed to have arrested seven people for “facilitating” cheating in the recent Medical and Dental College Admission Test (MDCAT).
In a statement issued here, the city police said the department received complaints about cheating in the MDCAT across the province revealing that the candidates were receiving answers to questions through electronic gadgets, including Bluetooth devices, from outside examination centres.
They added that police arrested 74 candidates, including men and women, over exam cheating, while 19 cases were registered at eight police stations in the provincial capital.
The police said after the formal start of the investigation, a joint operation by the Peshawar and Kohat police led to the arrest of Zafar Khattak, the alleged mastermind of the scandal.
It said further investigation led to the arrest of a brother of Khattak as well as Fahad, Fazal Subhan, Arshad, Fazl Wahab and Aminullah, who all were well-trained and highly-educated people.
Police say 74 candidates in custody; FIA to examine seized devices
“During the joint operation, police recovered electronic devices from the arrested men. The devices will be sent to the Federal Investigation Agency for forensic examination,” the police said, adding that they were also working on the call detail records of the employees of the Educational Testing and Evaluation Agency as well as the arrested students.
They said during the initial investigation, the accused revealed that a centralised system was in place so that all candidates stay in contact at the same time.
The police said besides Peshawar, the police in other districts, too, recovered 44 electronic devices, including microphones, mobile phones and a smart watch.
Meanwhile, officials privy to the development said a joint investigation team constituted by the home and tribal affairs department declared in its report that the ETEA’s mechanism to check cheating in the test as well as its information technology system were not up to the mark.
They said the men behind the cheating scam had fixed rates with over Rs2 million per case, including the device and facilitation in the test.
The officials said the police were investigating the scandal and had so far registered over 200 FIRs.
“The mastermind was earlier kicked out from the Public Service Commission for such acts and then arrested multiple times,” an official told Dawn.
On Sept 10, the Khyber Medical University (KMU) said ina statement that it had adopted the zero tolerance policy regarding the use of electronic gadgets by candidates inside testing centres.
“Candidates were searched in three steps at the time of entry besides inside the centres with the help of metal detectors,” it said.
The KMU said 46,612 candidates sat the admission test for public and private medical and dental colleges in the province and that the test was organised by it and the ETEA at 43 places in 11 cities of the province.
“In light of the directions issued by the government, it has been decided to take legal action against the candidate who brought electronic devices to the centre,” KMU vice-chancellor Prof Ziaul Haq said in the statement.
He said papers of the candidates caught for cheating would be deemed canceled and that they would be banned from sitting any ETEA test for the next two years.
Published in Dawn, September 23rd, 2023