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Exam scam: Court backs DU decision

The Delhi High Court has upheld DU’s decision to cancel the engineering college admissions of 11 alleged beneficiaries in the sensational CEE scam of 2005. Harish V Nair reports. Special: Campus Calling
Hindustan Times | By Harish V Nair, New Delhi
UPDATED ON JUL 08, 2008 11:16 AM IST

The Delhi High Court has upheld Delhi University’s decision to cancel the engineering college admissions of 11 alleged beneficiaries in the sensational Combined Entrance Exam (CEE) scam of 2005. Meanwhile, the CBI continues to be engaged in securing conviction of those accused of sending answers in the form of SMS to some candidates for a price.

The matter came to light when the university got complaints that many candidates cheated in the exam. On closer scrutiny, the university discovered that at ranks 13, 25, 35 and 56 of the merit list there were 5,3,2 and 11 candidates respectively who had secured exactly the same marks in Physics, Chemistry and Mathematics. Not only this, the questions which were attempted and those wrongly answered also were the same, something “highly unusual”.

DU conducts the CEE every year for admissions to prestigious engineering courses at Delhi College of Engineering, Bawana, and Netaji Subhash Institute of Technology, Dwarka. The University Registrar referred the matter to the CBI for detailed investigation after which the agency registered an FIR against 21 candidates. Their admissions were later cancelled.

Modus operandi
According to CBI the “masterminds” of the scam, Pankaj Dahiya and Himanshu Kumar, gave each candidate a Hutch SIM through which they got the answer keys of the question booklet in the form of SMS.

Though the 11 who moved the HC were not in the list of 21 booked by the CBI, they were also accused of adopting unfair means and their results were also cancelled. These 11 candidates were also debarred from any future examination of Delhi University for a period of five years from 2005-06 which a single bench of the HC reduced to two years later.

So before the division bench of the court the students had demanded that their admission be restored on the basis of CEE 2005. The students contended there was no direct evidence against them of cheating, as they had not been caught red-handed like some other students.

Rejecting the argument, a Bench of Justices AK Sikri and JR Midha said: “Accepting it would mean ignoring all the other circumstances evidences which categorically establish unusual similarity in the pattern in which all these candidates answered the questions. Finding of such similarities namely answering same questions, ticking same options while giving wrong answers to some questions is very unusual and is possible only through unfair means.”

The court also considered "additional circumstances" like "far inferior" performances of the students in the CBSE exam and other entrance tests.

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