Two Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) faculty members facilitated large-scale cheating during this year’s IIT Joint Entrance Examination, a probe panel has found, raising fresh questions about a test repeatedly hit by controversy in recent years.
The Directors of the IITs have banned civil engineering professor CSP Ojha and chemical engineering assistant professor Prakash Biswas, both teaching at IIT Roorkee, from any examination-related work for five years.
This is the first time ever that IIT faculty members – who set question papers, and are in charge of managing invigilation at centres across the country – have been indicted for selectively allowing some students to cheat by tricking the multiple security layers in place for the JEE.
A student who is believed to have been the principal beneficiary of the cheating has been banned for life from attempting any IIT entrance test – at the undergraduate, masters or PhD level.
Professor Sanjay Dhande, Director of IIT Kanpur – which conducted the JEE this year – will also file an FIR seeking a criminal investigation into the racket that threatens the credibility of one of India’s most prestigious competitive examinations.
HT has access to the probe panel’s confidential report and the decision taken by the Organising Committee of the JEE on June 5, indicting Ojha, Biswas, and a third IIT Roorkee employee – Sunil Kumar, a member of the clerical staff.
The reports point to the planned nature of the operation, that took place at a Bhatinda test centre -- the Giani Zail Singh Institute of Engineering and Technology (GZSIET) on the day of the JEE on April 10. Ojha's daughter studies at the GZSIET. The candidate who has been barred from ever appearing for IIT entrance tests, is the daughter of an employee of GZSIET, and was appearing for the IIT-JEE at her father's institution. Handpicked students in the same room as the girl were also beneficiaries of the cheating scam.
Ojha violated an undertaking all IIT faculty invigilators are required to sign stating that no one known to them is appearing for the JEE at the centre they are monitoring.