The Uttar Pradesh Special Task Force has arrested Dr Ritu Garg, the prime accused in the Ayush Scam. The police arrested her from her Varanasi residence. She is arrested for her alleged involvement in facilitating the admission of non-deserving candidates by forging the NEET merit list. Dr Ritu is the director of Santushti Ayurvedic Medical College in Mirzapur and is the 15th person arrested since November last year when the anomalies came to the fore.
Garg was moved to Lucknow to appear before the Anti-corruption court. She was sentenced to 14-day judicial custody until March 13, 2022. Anomalies in the admission of undergraduate students to state-run government and commercial ayurvedic, Unani, and homoeopathic colleges were raised in the Ayush scam case by the Union Ministry of Ayush. Investigations found that 932 pupils were admitted without using the order of merit that would have been expected.
According to an official, over 100 undeserving applicants were admitted to Dr Garg’s private college by fabricating the NEET merit list, and many of the students hadn’t even taken the combined medical entrance exam.
A chargesheet had already been submitted by the STF on February 14 against 15 individuals, including Prof. Dr SN Singh, a former director of ayurveda services, and Umakant Yadav, the officer in charge of the directorate of education (ayurveda services). He claimed that after being suspended by the state administration, the pair and 12 other people were all arrested in the case in November of last year.
Notably, in 2021, candidates were chosen for 7,338 places in colleges of homoeopathy, ayurveda, and unani. At least 6,797 seats, including those in government and private institutions, were distributed under Ayush. Of these, 982 allotments were flagged as questionable. Nine of the 982 names on this list — who never even sat the NEET exam — were still given seats in colleges. The Directorate of Ayurveda suspended all 982 of the 2021 batch’s students and barred them from sitting for the test that the Ayush University of Gorakhpur planned to administer this year in June.
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