Of the four candidates allegedly recommended by Governor Ramnaresh Yadav for selection as forest guards in 2013, three failed to even clear the test conducted by the tainted Madhya Pradesh Professional Examination Board.
The reason: They attempted too many questions, provided wrong answers and didn’t leave enough blank spaces for former MPPEB officials allegedly involved in a test-rigging scam to write answers and bring their scores at par with the cut-off marks.
Satendra Sharma, the only candidate allegedly recommended by the Governor who was selected, did not attempt a single question and left the entire answer sheet blank. Former MPPEB official Nitin Mahindra, a key accused in the scam, and his aides filled in 60 answers and Sharma was selected.
Yadav, 86, was named as an accused in the multi-layered examination and recruitment scam in February, the biggest name to be dragged into the state’s most high-profile scandal.
He allegedly took Rs 4 lakh from each of the candidates he recommended. The FIR registered against him was quashed on the order of the Madhya Pradesh high court because Yadav enjoys immunity from prosecution under constitutional provisions.
The cut-off marks in the test for recruiting forest guards was 60 out of 70 for general category candidates. There was no reservation for OBCs in this test and they too were treated as general candidates.
According to Mahindra’s excel sheet on the 2013 test for recruiting forest guards, the Governor recommended four candidates – Satish Kumar Yadav, Manish Kumar Yadav, Satendra Sharma and Govind Sharma.
Watch: The A to Z of the Vyapam scam
The excel sheet, one of the key pieces of evidence gathered by investigators, shows Mahindra and his aides could do little to ensure the selection of Satish, Manish and Govind because they attempted “too many” questions, most of their answers were wrong and they not leave enough blank spaces that the MPPEB officials could use to raise their score.
For example, Satish attempted 43 of the 70 questions and only 22 answers were correct. This left Mahindra and his aides with just 27 blank spaces to fill while Satish needed 38 more marks to reach the score of 60.
Manish attempted 45 questions, of which only 13 were correct. He left only 25 blank spaces while Mahindra and his aides needed to ensure he scored 47 more marks to get to the cut-off score.
Govind attempted 17 questions of which only four were correct. He needed 56 more marks but the empty spaces left were just 53. Therefore he too failed to make it to the list of selected candidates.
Satendra Sharma, however, was smart. He didn’t attempt a single question, left the entire job to the MPPEB officials and was selected.
“Perhaps the candidates allegedly backed by the Governor could not understand how the marks used to be manipulated by officials involved in the scam. They used to ask candidates recommended by politicians or middlemen to attempt only those questions whose answers they were absolutely sure about, and to leave the rest, which they would later fill according to requirement of the score sheet,” said an official of the Special Taks Force involved in the probe.
More than 2,000 people have been arrested have been arrested for the scam that has become the biggest challenge for chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan during his third term.
The MPPEB scam, also known as the Vyapam scandal from the board’s Hindi acronym, involved multiple rackets that helped candidates rig examinations for admissions to professional courses and recruitment in government jobs. Imposters were used to write test papers and scamsters manipulated sitting arrangements and supplied forged answer sheets.