A joint team of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and Uttar Pradesh Special Task Force (UPSTF) has arrested Ramesh Shivhare alias Chandra, one of the main accused in the multi-crore cash-for-seats Vyapam scam.
Shivhare, the husband of the former chairperson of Mahoba district panchayat Anshu, was arrested on Tuesday night from Awas Vikas Colony under Kalyanpur Police Station in Kanpur, four years after his name figured as one of the masterminds in the multi-layered scam.
Arvind Kumar, additional superintendent of police with UP STF, confirmed Shivhare’s arrest and said he has confessed to his involvement in the scam. Shivhare was questioned till early hours at the police station.
CBI took over the Madhya Pradesh Professional Examination Board, abbreviated in Hindi as Vyapam, investigation in July 2015 after dozens of accused, beneficiaries, whistle-blowers and witnesses died mysteriously.
Many have even accused that there was a systematic attempt to scuttle the inquiry that has singed top bureaucrats and politicians.
CBI will seek the transit remand for Shivhare. A court had issued a non-bailable warrant against him and also ordered attachment of his property,
Shivhare has told interrogators that he roped in junior doctors of GSVM Medical college to appear in Vyapam on the behalf of other candidates. He has also helped many students of Kakadeo coaching hub to clear the Vyapam entrance exam.
Sources said he has given the names of some people who ran the racket with him and investigators are pursuing the leads he has shared. They added his name has also cropped up in connection with leaks in the question papers of some entrance exams and has been accused of helping students clear other competitive exams.
“His name also came up in the RRB paper leak recently. He has been involved in recruitment in banks, railway and secondary schools,” they said.
Shivhare and his friends started the racket to help candidates rig examinations for money by employing imposters to write test papers, manipulating seating arrangements and supplying forged answer sheets after the coaching institute he ran with a close friend closed down in 2007.
They began operating in Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh where they charged exorbitant fees for seats in medical and engineering colleges. Similarly, they also trapped doctors and engineers to solve question papers.
More than 2,000 people have been arrested in connection with the scam, where organised rackets allegedly rigged tests conducted by the MPPEB for admissions and recruitment to various courses and government jobs.
Police say scamsters employed imposters to write papers, manipulate sitting arrangements and even supply forged answer sheets by bribing officials between 2012 and 2013.