In a major breakthrough, Punjab vigilance bureau has busted a Bihar-based gang that was leaking question papers of entrance tests for various government jobs across the country.
Four members of the gang were arrested by VB sleuths from a house in New Delhi on Saturday where they had brought together 17 candidates due to appear in the Sunday’s entrance test for the posts of sub-divisional engineer (SDE) in Punjab irrigation department. The examination was conducted by the Thapar University, Patiala.
These 17 candidates, who had allegedly bought the question paper for Rs 22 lakh each, were waiting to be shown the question paper when they were rounded up by the VB. The questioning of the candidates is on. Nearly 5,500 candidates appeared in the recruitment tests for the 100 posts of SDE on Sunday.
The alleged kingpin of this gang has been identified as Kuresh Diwedi, chief of Congress party’s Arwal district unit in Bihar. He is on the run, but his brother, Jai Diwedi, was arrested during the raid. Ravi Ranjan, Vinay Bhaskar and Mantoo Gupta were other three arrested during the raid. All are residents of Patna and related to the Diwedis.
“Other than the examinations conducted for jobs in Punjab, the gang is suspected to have selectively leaked question papers of certain tests conducted by Union Public Service Commission (UPSC); Staff Selection Commission, government of India; Kendriya Vidyalaya Sangathan, among others,” said Punjab DGP Suresh Arora.
In Punjab, other than the recruitment for SDE (irrigation), the gang was allegedly involved in selectively leaking question papers of examination conducted by Thapar University on October 9 to select 79 junior engineers in the Punjab Water Resource Management and Development Corporation.
The VB team recovered admit cards and original certificates of candidates with whom the gang had dealt with for the these examinations. Also, Rs 1.5 lakh was recovered from the accused.
When contacted, registrar, Thapar University, Gurbinder Singh, however, said the examination system of the university was foolproof and no leakage of question paper took place.
Linked with scams busted this year
The gang has links with the two recruitment scam modules busted by the VB in April this year. Modules running from Lucknow in UP and Najafgarh in Haryana were responsible for leaking question papers for jobs in Punjab government departments. Panjab University (PU), had conducted these examinations for the Punjab government in 2015.
Following the scams, PU was blacklisted and the affected examinations were cancelled. Recruitments were then outsourced to Thapar University. Of the 17 candidates rounded up on Saturday, four had been arrested for their alleged involvement in the earlier scams as well.
Vigilance officers heading the operation said investigations of these modules led them to a Mumbai resident, Mushtaaq Ahmed, an employee of the Oriental Insurance Company, who was arrested on October 7.
“Mushtaaq was Diwedi’s point person. Based on his information, our team raided Diwedi’s residence in New Delhi on Saturday where candidates who had to appear in the SDE (civil) in the irrigation department were waiting for the question paper. Admit cards and certificates were with the gang. They were to take the examination on Sunday. Admit cards of some candidates who appeared for the SDE (mechanical) examination of the same department held on Sunday were also found with the accused. It is clear that question papers of both exams were leaked,” said V Neeraja, director, vigilance bureau, Punjab.