Madhya Pradesh’s professional examination board (MPPEB), mired in a multi-layered test-rigging scam, has sparked a fresh row after results of a forest guard entrance exam declared on its website erroneously picked hundreds of applicants as “successful”.
While more than 550,000 candidates took the test for over 2,100 posts, only 5,005 contenders should have qualified for the second round. Dozens of celebrating applicants were stunned when their names vanished from the shortlist after the MPPEB, widely known by its Hindi acronym, Vyapam, rectified its mistake.
“Earlier, MPPEB used to play with people’s careers. Now, they have started playing with emotions,” said Sanjay Thakur, one of the candidates. “After seeing my result, I had distributed sweets to my friends and relatives, but on Monday I came to know that I was not selected.”
The incident comes on the heels of the Vyapam examination scam being probed by the CBI after more than 40 accused, beneficiaries, whistle-blowers and witnesses died mysteriously, with many accusing there was a systematic attempt to scuttle the inquiry that has singed top bureaucrats and politicians.
At least 2,800 people have been arrested and hundreds are wanted in the scandal with multiple rackets helping candidates manoeuvre the examinations for money, including employing imposters to write test papers, manipulating seating arrangements as well as supplying forged answer sheets.
The Opposition has used the issue to target the BJP, which is in power at the Centre as well as the state, demanding the resignation of CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan.
The forest guard test was held on August 16, 2015 and results were announced on Sunday.
“I am really upset. This is a crime,” said another candidate, Manoj Patel. “MPPEB fooled us. When the government can’t handle the online format, it shouldn’t shift to it.”
Many of the applicants lodged complaints on a helpline launched by the chief minister.
“The controller had sent the correct result but the programmer uploaded it incorrectly,” said Aruna Sharma, additional chief secretary and in-charge of MPPEB. “He has been suspended with immediate effect.”