Beginning in the late 1990s, investigators allege, Sagar and his out-of-town impostors helped hundreds of students cheat the medical exams.
But eventually Sagar’s ambitions widened, and he turned to a man called Nitin Mohindra.
Nitin Mohindra is a short, pudgy man with a receding hairline, descending paunch, and lampshade moustache, who joined Vyapam in 1986 at the age of 21 as a data entry operator.
By the time he met Jagdish Sagar, he had risen through the ranks to become the agency’s principal systems analyst, without ever drawing much attention to himself.
His colleagues recalled that he had only twice been the subject of any office gossip -- both times for arriving at work in slightly flashy new cars: a Honda City in 2008, and Renault Duster SUV a few years later.
“And he wore very nice shirts,” one colleague told me. “Nothing fancy, but you could tell that the material was just better quality than everyone else’s shirts.”
In 2009, police claim, Sagar and Mohindra had a meeting in Sagar’s car in Bhopal’s New Market bazaar, where the doctor made an unusual proposition: he would give Mohindra the application forms of groups of test-takers, and Mohindra would alter their “roll numbers” to ensure they were seated together so they could cheat from each other.
According to Mohindra’s statement to the police, Sagar “offered to pay me 25,000 rupees (250pounds) for each roll number I changed.”
This came to be known as the “engine-bogie” system.
The “engine” would be one of Sagar’s impostors -- a bright student from a medical college, taking the exam on behalf of a paying customer -- who would also pull along the lower-paying clients sitting next to him by supplying them with answers.
Vyapam officials showed me seating plans from examination centres to illustrate how Mohindra ensured that engines and bogies not only sat together, but were allotted seats in the last few benches in each examination room -- far from the moderator -- to make it easier for them to cheat.
From 2009 to 2013, the police claim, Mohindra tampered with seating assignment for at least 737 of Sagar’s clients taking the state medical exam.