A day after eight employees of the Mumbai university (MU) were arrested for smuggling answer sheets of first-year engineering students out of the examination centre, state education minister Vinod Tawde warned the varsity could lose its autonomous status if the malpractices in examinations continued.
The officials allegedly gave the answer sheets to a few students, so they could fill in the answers and return it to them. The accused were arrested while trying to place the answer sheets back.
Tawde, who has asked for an inquiry and a detailed report on the incident, said, “These malpractices are brewing within the university, with the involvement of university officials. The MU has to take full responsibility [of the incident]. The fact that this is the second such incident in less than a year is something to think about. We are taking serious cognisance of the matter,” Tawde told HT on Sunday.
Making it clear that such incidents are ruining the name of MU, one of the best universities in the country, Tawde said stern action will be taken. “We are considering revamping the autonomous status of the MU to make sure such incidents don’t occur in the future,” he said.
The minister said officials from his department are in touch with deputy commissioner of police, zone 7. The university officials, too, have been asked to conduct an internal inquiry and submit a report on it at the earliest. “The university stands for quality education and scams like these are only maligning the reputation of the institute. We hope all culprits are caught and brought to justice,” said Tawde.
While the MU set up a fact-finding committee on Saturday, the committee members and the board of examinations conducted a meeting at MU’s Fort campus on Sunday. As a precautionary measure, the board has suggested installation of CCTV cameras in the exam house and controlled access to answer sheets. The MU’s management council will on Monday discuss the suggestions and final action against culprits.
In May 2015, a paan seller outside the university’s Kalina campus was caught selling fake mark sheets to students who had failed their final-year exams. He had been charging students Rs25,000 to change the marks for one subject. While the police investigation was on, the MU set up a fact-finding committee to conduct a parallel inquiry. The report submitted by the committee revealed the involvement of four employees of the examination committee -- assistant registrar Chetan Kamlalu, head clerk Priti Raul, junior clerk Uttam Jaitapkar and superintendent Rajshri Chavan. They were suspended in July 2015. HT had reported in February this year that these employees have been reinstated, pending inquiry.