The International English Language Testing System (IELTS) is an international standardised English proficiency exam taken by non-native English speakers that assesses a candidate's level of English proficiency across four different sections. A strong IELTS score is therefore required for admission to top universities across the world.
According to a police official, an investigation into an alleged racket in which unqualified students were receiving help in order to obtain high IELTS scores to gain admission to Canadian universities for entering illegally in the United States was started at the request of American authorities.
As per Inspector Bhavesh Rathod of the Mehsana SOG, in charge of this investigation, the investigation thus far has shown that no transparency was maintained by the agency that conducted the IELTS exam. Furthermore, the CCTV cameras at the IELTS test centre were switched off during the exam in September 2021.
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This year, on April 28, six Gujarati youthsaged between 19 to 22, were detained by US border agents during an unsuccessful attempt to enter the US from Canada. They were arrested from a sinking boaton the Saint Regis river in Akwesasne territory, near the Canadian border and taken into custody.
The youths were bought before a US court where they failed to answer questions in English and a Hindi translator was arranged to ease communication.
After the court's initial hearing, the criminal fraud investigation unit of the US Consulate General in Mumbai emailed the Mehsana police requesting them to look into how these four students from Mehsana received good test results and which agents/agencies were involved.
Based on the investigation, four among these six students, namely, Neel Patel, Dhruv Patel, Urvish Patel, and Savan Patel, attempted the exam on September 25, 2021, at an IELTS test centre in Navsari. Their IELTS score ranged from six to eight bands. On March 19, 2022, they entered Canadaon a Canadian student visa.
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In Navsari, where the exam was being held, the manager of the banquet hall reported that supervisors had switched off the cameras before the examination.
Ahmedabad is the headquarters of the exam agency, a police officer said. The Sabarmati-area-based owners of the agency were told to appear in front of the Mehsana SOG.
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Source: The Times of India