The 26-year-old doctor was excited but nervous. He had returned to India in 2022 after completing his MBBS from Kazakhstan, but was yet to begin practicing in the country as he had not yet cleared the Foreign Medical Graduate Examination (FMGE) — a biannual test for those who have completed their medical degree from an institute in a foreign country, and wish to practice in India.
But this Thursday was different — he was promised a “leaked” copy of the FMGE on January 20, which he could then use to pass the crucial test. And so, he, along 39 other hopeful doctors from a consultancy institute in Delhi, gathered early in the morning at a private farmhouse at Hasanpur village, near Tauru town in Haryana’s Nuh district.
However, the calm of the morning was shattered when a group of men swarmed into the farmhouse, pointed guns at the assembled doctors, and claimed that they were Haryana Police crime branch officers who were acting on news of the paper leak.
These “officers” then started recording videos of the doctors, along with that of farmhouse owner Sarwar Singh, and then assaulted them and robbed them of their cash and valuables.
Hearing the melee, Singh’s brother called the police control room, and within minutes, a team — the real police this time — arrived at the spot and arrested the impersonators, who turned out to be members of a rival gang upset that they were not cut into the deal involving the leaked paper. According to police, the rival gang recorded the videos so that they could blackmail the victims about using a leaked paper to pass the test.
Police said they have arrested at least seven people in connection with the paper “leak”, and have also registered a separate case involving the assault.
To be sure, it is still unclear whether the test was actually leaked or not. While the Haryana health ministry and the National Board of Examination (NBE), that conducts FMGE, did not formally respond to HT’s queries on the matter, people familiar with the matter, requesting anonymity, said that the exam is likely to be conducted as per plan.
A story of rival institutes
According to police, the 40 doctors were all from a consultancy institute at Vasant Vihar in south Delhi, which promises to send its clients abroad for higher education. However, police said, a rival gang that runs a coaching institute in Rajasthan came to know of the alleged paper leak, and came to Tauru to blackmail the doctors accepting the purported stolen document.
Tauru deputy superintendent of police Mukesh Kumar said, “The police team found that at least 40 doctors had gathered at the farmhouse to solve sample papers, and were promised to get the leaked paper on Thursday. However, before the paper could be brought to the farmhouse, people from a rival institute in Rajasthan reached there and took the farmhouse owner and some students at gunpoint, and also allegedly robbed the farmhouse owner, along with the doctors.”
DSP Kumar said a majority of the doctors fled the spot, fearing police action. “We found 12 MBBS doctors at the spot, including four women. During questioning, it was revealed that a Delhi consultancy firm, with assurances to clear the exam, had taken ₹4 lakh as advance and rest ₹16 lakh had to be paid after the exam,” he said.
Police said the manager of the consultancy firm, who had organised the set up at the farmhouse, has been arrested, but the mastermind of the whole operation is still at large.
“The mastermind in the case, identified as Vinay Dahiya of Sonipat, is yet to be arrested. He was earlier arrested by CBI in March 2023 for leaking the 2021 JEE Mains examination paper. There are already three cases registered against him for leaking papers and selling them,” DSP Kumar said.
Nuh superintendent of police Narender Bijarnia said they suspect the paper leak racket was being run from the farmhouse.
However, Singh, the farmhouse owner, claimed that he was unaware of any illegality, and said that he was paid ₹20,000 to book his property for a two-day seminar.
“I was not aware that the place was booked for solving the leaked paper,” he said.
Meanwhile, the FMGE test is scheduled to go ahead on Saturday. A government official, on condition of anonymity, said, “We got to know indirectly about the suspected leak and we have duly informed the law enforcement authorities. To the best of my knowledge, there is no plan to postpone the exam as of now. It will be conducted on the stipulated date.”