You may have seen the incredible video footage of parents scaling walls in Indian schools in order to past test answers to their children. One of the biggest tests of a young person’s life occurs on the eve of the Indian summer: The Common Admissions Test (CAT). The most similar test in the US is the SAT or ACT, but unlike many American schools the only thing that truly matters when getting into the equivalent of a college is your test scores on the CAT. There are no do-overs, no supplemental materials (like extracurricular activities) that can make up for it, and all the tests that take place during this nearly month-long period ultimately determine whether a person goes to a “good college” or not.
Web Weavers is an Indian-based web hosting company that hosted the big CAT score reveals. However, back in 2012, Muhammaed Aafaque was one of the few employees who had access to the original test scores. He was supposed to give them to Web Weavers for display on the catiim.in website. Around 200,000 students took the 2012 CAT. However, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), similar to the FBI in the US, reveals that Aafaque changed the scores of 80 students so they ranked in the 99th or 98th percentile.
The CBI reports that, “Ghaziabad-based consultant Career Guardian had collected money from these candidates promising them to ensure admission in prominent institutes. The candidates paid in the range of Rs 6 lakh to 15 lakhs ($9,500 to $25,000). The firm got only 80 candidates in their trap, although they had approached hundreds of candidates from across the country.”
The Real Math Quiz
It’s been reported that Aafaque got a cut of the money, but thus far the CBI hasn’t revealed what that amount is. “More arrests would be made later,” says the CBI. “The career consultants and candidates who had paid the money to get higher scores are under the eye of the probe.” The local police in Kozhikode was tipped off when an anonymous letter arrived, pointing out the strangeness of the results post-publication. In the spring of 2014, the case was given to the CBI due to the inter-state alleged crime.
In 2012, the CAT exams were given to Prometric (a US company) for evaluation, and was then given to an Indian institution (IIM-Kozhikode) which acted as exam coordinator in that year. Next, IIM-Kozhikode gave the results to Web Weavers for web hosting. The CBI has concluded that the tampering occurred during the publication period. Aafaque allegedly worked with Career Guardian to change the scores—in fact, some of the lowest scoring candidates ended up in the best schools because they had paid for such results.
All students will be dropped from their programs, and already 77 had been given the boot. However, there are still three remaining who chose non-IIM schools and they have petitioned courts to remain in the programs. Their fate may take some time in court to unravel. However, the CBI has stated that individual students and their actual role in the scam must be verified before getting expelled.
Of the many defendants in the case, Web Weavers is also one of the them.