‘Another Vyapam’: Agriculture officers recruitment exam candidates allege fixing
- A candidate questioned by MPPEB allowed a tainted company to conduct the exam. The same company was blacklisted by UP after a question paper of recruitment exam for sub-inspectors got leaked in 2017, he alleged.
Ten top rankers in Madhya Pradesh’s examination to recruit officers for the agriculture department, committed the same mistakes and scored similar marks in the general knowledge paper of the entrance examination, conducted by the Madhya Pradesh Professional Examination Board, (MPPEB) on February 10 and 11. Several candidates have raised suspicion that it could be another Vyapam scam in the Central Indian state.
The coincidence did not end here. According to information provided by MPPEB, their caste, their college and academic performance is also almost the same, raising question marks over the recruitment examination.
The examination was held for 862 posts in the agriculture department and the answer sheets were released on February 17 with the list of probable selected candidates. It was then a suspicion was raised over the conduct of the examinations.
The candidates alleged it was another recruitment exam scam in the state ---infamous for rigging of entrance to medical colleges in 2013-14, popularly known as Vyapam scam. They also asked how these candidates from one region and caste with poor academic backgrounds could score the highest marks in the recruitment exam, which doesn’t have any provision of an interview.
A candidate from Indore, Ranjeet Ragunath, said, “This is the tip of the iceberg of a scam. All top ten highest scorers in the exam are from Chambal division and nine are from the same caste. They completed their Bachelor of Science (Agriculture) degrees from a government agriculture college in Gwalior. Almost all the candidates completed their four-year degrees in five or more years.”
“Even, they told some of the ex-students of their college that they were going to be selected 100% and they said this before the exam, so they were sure. Either, they had the question papers, or they might have some arrangement like the candidates had during the Vyapam scam,” he alleged.
“They also secured 195 and 194 marks out of 200 that are the highest scores in the history of the exam,” claimed Raghunath.
“The candidates scored full marks in the general knowledge section. But our suspicion increased when the MPPEB released answer sheets on February 17 and gave wrong answers to three questions. Coincidently, the top scorers also gave the same wrong answers in their answer sheets. We don’t know whether it is a coincidence or conspiracy, but how it is possible that they gave the same wrong answers, especially of basic questions which we studied in class 11,” said another candidate Sachit Anand from Satna.
One of the top scorers in the exam, who scored full marks in the maths section, had failed in the statistics exam several times and completed his degree in eight years, he added.
A professor at the agriculture college Gwalior was also surprised over the marks of these candidates. Requesting anonymity, the professor said, “Maybe overnight they earned knowledge and scored qualification marks but it is hard to believe that they scored the highest marks.”
The candidates also raised questions on MPPEB for selecting a blacklisted company to conduct the exam.
“This is also unfortunate that MPPEB allowed a blacklisted company to conduct the exam. It is the same company that was blacklisted by UP after a question paper of recruitment exam for sub-inspectors got leaked in 2017. The incidents of leak of question papers were also reported in other exams including teachers’ recruitment test in Tamil Nadu and protection officers’ recruitment test in Railways,” said Rajesh Singh from Gwalior, a candidate.
When contacted, state head of NSEIT, MP, Krishnan Dwivedi said, “We adopted a fair method while conducting the exam. The candidates have the right to raise their voices but only MPPEB is authorized to clear the doubts of candidates. We can’t comment on this issue.”
The candidates also met farmers’ welfare and agriculture development minister Kamal Patel who assured of holding an inquiry in the matter.
Patel said, “This could be a coincidence, but we will inquire into the matter.”
MPPEB director Shanmuga Priya Mishra said, “They are levelling allegations because of a lot of coincidences. We are inquiring into the matter and have also asked the company. Till now, we didn’t find any adverse things or irregularities. But if we find something concrete, we will act accordingly.”
The candidates in question couldn’t be contacted over the phone despite repeated attempts.