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Wednesday 3 June 2020

Anand Kumar of Super 30 fame in the dock or saved again?

While the Gauhati High Court says it cannot ascertain the veracity of the case against Anand Kumar from there, media archives do not spare him

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Following Gauhati High Court’s statement that the veracity of the case against mathematician Anand Kumar of Super 30 fame cannot be determined from that court, the petitioners have withdrawn the case.

The director of the famous Super 30 coaching institute in Patna, who purportedly grooms poor students for the IIT admission test JEE, had been troubled by this case of late, but he is not new to controversies, as this post will reveal later.

Before the case was withdrawn, the Gauhati High Court had imposed a fine of Rs 50,000 on 19 November while hearing the PIL. The court ordered him to appear in person on Thursday, 28 November. The petitioner students accused Anand of cheating in the name of Super 30. The fine is for not appearing in the court.

Four students of the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Guwahati — Avinash Baro, Manjit Dole, Vikash Das, and Dhaniram Tau — had filed a PIL in the Gauhati High Court in September 2018, accusing Anand Kumar of cheating. According to the students, in the IIT Entrance Examination of 2018, Anand Kumar claimed the success of 26 out of 30 students of Super 30, but he did not disclose the names of those students. The petitioners allege that Anand Kumar misrepresented the actual Super 30 result.

The students had said in their petition that Anand Kumar made false claims, due to which a large number of students from all over the country came to him with the dream of passing the IIT entrance examination. Anand would enrol them in his coaching institute’Ramanujam School of Mathematics, where he would charge a fee of Rs 30,000 from every student.

The petition alleged that, since 2008, no class of the so-called Super 30 had been conducted. However, every year after the result of the IIT entrance examination, Anand Kumar releases a list of successful students, claiming they were his students, the petitioners alleged. It is not clear, of course, whether the Ramanujam School of Mathematics and Super 30 should be deemed one and the same entity. Technically, they are not.

The court had summoned Anand to appear for the case on 26 November.

A division bench of Chief Justice Ajay Lamba and Justice AM Bujarbarua had said that if Kumar did not appear, a bailable warrant would be issued against him. Advocate for students Amit Goel said that Anand Kumar had not responded to the allegations.

Anand Kumar has dubbed the case a “conspiracy”. “This is a conspiracy against me. Losers are doing this to defame me. The four students who have accused me are neither my students nor have studied under me. They have neither met me nor have I taken a rupee from them,” Anand Kumar said with the claim that he had faith in the court and that he would get justice.

Anand Kumar had said he would appear in the Gauhati High Court on 26 November. He had said, “I have a lecture in Cambridge on 24 November before appearing in the court. I am not afraid and am not an absconder. Super 30 will be known all over the world.”

But the petition claims that Anand Kumar, who calls himself a mathematician and himself a messiah of poor IIT aspirants, is exploiting gullible students and their parents through manipulations and showing false results.

Every year, 30 meritorious students from economically disadvantaged sections are selected and trained for JEE under Anand’s Super 30 initiative, or so he claims. This is not the first time someone has accused him of unfounded fame.

What is the full truth of Anand Kumar?

While Q&A website Quora has some damning accounts of students who claim to have first-hand experiences of Super 30, much before this medium emerged, The Indian Express had run stories busting the aura around the supposed genius. Years before the film Super 30 was conceived, a 2006 report in the newspaper said that Anand Kumar was passing off students who enjoyed quota as EWS students (link to the 2010 report) as it was easier to secure the minimum marks that qualified a Scheduled Caste or Other Backward Class candidate for the IIT. Business Standard ran a similar story in 2013.

Wikipedia, a medium whose articles can be edited by anybody, classifies reports like these as “smear campaigns” against Anand Kumar.

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