The Punjab vigilance bureau has booked two candidates who allegedly bought and selectively leaked question papers to other candidates appearing in the entrance test conducted by Panjab University, Chandigarh, for recruitment as sub-divisional officer (SDO) in the department of local government.
The FIR registered at SAS Nagar on Wednesday evening says the VB investigation has revealed that at least 19 candidates had access to the leaked question paper through two candidates to whom the paper was first leaked. These two candidates were taken to Lucknow by those involved in leaking the paper where the questions were shared, for a hefty price, running into several lakhs.
The entrance test for 682 posts in the department of local government was held on November 15, 2015. More than 67,000 candidates had taken the test for different posts, including junior engineer (JE), assistant corporation engineer, assistant municipal engineer and sub-divisional engineer (SDE). Candidates could apply for multiple posts. Selection was to take place through written examination alone.
The FIR says the candidates listed as the top 50 in merit had applied to appear in the examinations for the posts of JE and SDE, which were to be conducted on the same day within hours of each other. However, 19 of these 50 “toppers” appeared only in the SDE examination and remained absent in the JE exam (the pay scale and status of SDE is higher than a JE). These students allegedly had access to the question paper for the entrance exam of SDE and appeared only for that, the FIR adds.
The answer-sheets of these candidates show that their answers were an exact copy of one another’s and all of them had made the same mistakes. They all secured very high marks, making it to the merit list.
The two candidates (names withheld for purposes of investigation) have already been questioned by the VB during preliminary investigation and had denied a role in paper leakage. The FIR states that the two candidates were taken to Lucknow two days before the examination where the question paper was allegedly leaked. The FIR says the role of 17 other candidates besides officials of Panjab University will be investigated.
The staff at the University Institute of Applied Management Sciences, Panjab University, which has been conducting the examinations for the Punjab government since 2008, had also denied that the question papers were leaked.
A preliminary investigation into the scam began in February when a resident of Kollianwali village in Muktsar complained to chief minister Parkash Singh Badal, saying his ward--who had appeared in the entrance test--had received an offer for “sure-shot” recruitment as SDO against a payment of Rs 30 lakh. The complainant said a set of candidates were taken to Lucknow by the kingpin where the question papers were leaked.
During the course of the preliminary investigation, the recruitment to these posts was put on hold and the university was barred from holding any entrance test for the state government.