Raids on medical colleges in Karnataka unearth Rs 402 crore and investments in Ghana | Bengaluru News – Times of India

BENGALURU: The Income Tax (IT) department searches on nine major trust running educational institutions including medical colleges Rs 402.78 crore has been accepted as illegal capitation fees by manipulating the online admission process and the same has not been disclosed to the Income Tax Department. Some of the colleges where politicians are part of the management, a source in IT department said.
The raids were conducted in 56 different locations across Karnataka and Kerala including Bengaluru and Mangaluru and Tumakuru. A minister’s driver’s house was also raided in Adugodi. The sources said that the raids are being continued in Bengaluru as on Thursday.
Surabhi Ahluwalia, commissioner of income tax (media and technical policy), spokesperson of the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) said, “searches have resulted in seizure of cash amounting to Rs 15.09 crore. Gold jewellery of 81kg (valued at Rs 30 crore), 50 carat diamonds and 40kg of silver articles have been found from the residential premises of the trustees and are prime facie, unexplained. Evidence of undisclosed foreign assets of Rs 2.39 crore in Ghana has also been found apart from evidence of huge investments in 35 luxury cars in benami names.”
The search operation has resulted in detecting incriminating evidence regarding cash-for-seat malpractices for admission to MBBS, BDS and post graduate seats in the form of notebooks, hand written diaries, excel sheets containing the details of cash received from students/brokers for admission in these colleges for various years. It was also observed that the management, faculty, staff, meritorious students and brokers are working in close nexus to manipulate the online admission process. Also, there is evidence indicating that one of the medical colleges have some sort of ‘package arrangement’ for passing management quota students in written examination and viva voce for fixed sum ranging from Rs 1 lakh to Rs 2 lakh.
According to the Income Tax department, during the search and seizure operation it was found that the transparent selection process to medical colleges through NEET has been subverted by trustees and key persons running these medical colleges in collusion with agents/brokers and some students who got high ranks in NEET Examination.
The first stage of malpractice is that some high ranking students in NEET examination take admission to MBBS courses through state counselling (who have no intention to join the said colleges as they have secured admissions or likely to get admission elsewhere), thereby blocking seats in the medical stream in a medical college during Karnataka Examinations Authority (KEA) counselling process, in connivance with agents/ middlemen/converters (who provide service of converting the regular seats to management seats). Subsequently, these students withdraw from the admission process thereby making the vacant seats available for the college management.
Such seats are made available to the college management for filling up through the “Stray Vacancies Round” (seats remaining vacant or unfilled in a college after mop-up round). In this round, the seats are filled by the college management by admitting less meritorious candidates (low rank in NEET) after collecting huge sums as capitation fee/donations in cash. The capitation fee/ donations are collected through a network of brokers/ agents employed by the key persons/Trustees of these medical colleges.
One of the colleges has diversified into the business of timber/plywood industries where evidence regarding under invoicing has also been found, the IT department said.

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Sagar Biswas

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