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Medical Seat Scam: Government Ignored Warnings From Regulatory Bodies

Officials of two regulatory bodies claim the medical seat scam which the income-tax department is currently investigating could have been averted had the government acted on complaints of irregularities in the admission process.

Officials of both the fee regulatory and admission overseeing committees claim they received several complaints of seats being illegally blocked and allotted to ineligible candidates at hefty prices in both deemed and private medical colleges. These complaints were passed on to the government.

While the fee regulatory committee received six complaints just before the start of the admission process in July, no action was taken after committee chairman Justice DV Shylendra Kumar’s term ended in December 2018.

“Since the committee was headless, we could not act on them,” said MG Prabhakar, member of the fee regulatory committee. “We brought this to the notice of the government in the same month with a request that it appoint a chairman immediately.”

The admission overseeing committee headed by Justice B Manohar had also received three complaints in 2018 and had stipulated punishments against the private medical colleges involved. However, the government did not enforce the rulings.

“The medical education department should have enforced our ruling and cracked the whip on colleges indulging in irregularities. Unfortunately, this did not happen and now more irregularities are coming to light,” said Justice Manohar.

While unaided colleges are regulated by the fee regulator and admission overseeing committees, deemed universities argue they do not come under the preview of these committees. As a result, deemed universities unilaterally decide on admissions and the fee structure. A case on the issue is pending in the high court.

Three deemed universities currently in focus — Sri Sidhartha Medical College, Sri Sidhartha Institute of Medical Sciences and Research and Devaraj Urs Medical College — allegedly blocked and sold as many as 186 of the 300 merit seats to ineligible candidates this academic year.

“The law states all professional institutions should be regulated by the fee regulatory and admission overseeing committees,” said Justice Kumar. “This includes even deemed universities that are disputing the law. I hope the court lends clarity on the issue.”

Medical education minister and deputy chief minister CN Ashwath Narayan said his department has taken note of the gravity of the situation and will soon plug loopholes. – TOI

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