As many as 7 International English Language Testing Systems (IELTS) exam centres in Gujarat have come under the radar of the police after a probe began into the irregularities of the testing and checking system which was allowing ineligible students to clear the exam. At least 950 students this year are suspected to have secured high IELTS scores by paying Rs 14 lakh each. All of these students are now either in the US or Canada.

The investigation by Mehsana police has revealed discrepancies in the IELTS centres located in Rajkot, Vadodara, Mehsana, Ahmedabad, Navsari, Nadiad and Anand, reported a leading news daily. According to the sources, the first case of such irregularity had come to notice in April when a dummy student was caught giving the exam in Nadiad. Later, two centres in Navsari and Mehsana were reported to have switched off their CCTV cameras to harbour dummy candidates to give exams.

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In March this year, six youths from Gujarat in the age group of 19-21 were apprehended by US border authorities from the Saint Regis River in Akwesasne, US, when they were trying to cross over from Canada.

When these youths were produced before a US court, the authorities were astonished since they could not speak English properly despite their IELTS score being between 6.5-7 which is considered to be really high and appropriate for entry to the US and Canada. Following this, on the request of the US consulate, Mehsana police begin a probe into the matter.

Police sources reveal that a realty businessman from Mehsana is running this scam. A police officer said that this racket of issuing fake IELTS certificates to US and Canada aspirants has been running for about five years. The candidates are promised a high scored IELTS certificate by the agents of these scammers in return for Rs 14 lakh.

This is, however, not the first time that such a fraudulent activity regarding fake eligibility documents to go to a foreign country has surfaced. A month ago, around 600 fraud cases were detected by the Australian Home Department in which fake documents related to students’ educational qualifications were found attached with other documents. Majority of these cases were from Haryana and some from Punjab.

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