Excel sheets point to meticulous hi-tech planning in Vyapam scam
Narendra Patel left his entire answer sheet blank and scored a zero in the 2012 Madhya Pradesh dairy federation examination but was not worried about the marks hurting his chances of getting the job.india Updated: Jul 11, 2015 08:47 IST
Narendra Patel left his entire answer sheet blank and scored a zero in the 2012 Madhya Pradesh dairy federation examination but was not worried about the marks hurting his chances of getting the job.
Behind the scenes, he had already been recommended by the then state professional examination board director, Pankaj Trivedi, making Patel one of thousands who manipulated the professional exams held by the now-infamous Vyapam.
Details of the rigging process were meticulously recorded on Excel sheets, including the fact that he left all 100 circles in the multiple-choice exam blank, the marks he needed to clear the cut-offs – 86, and the number of circles to be filled for the purpose.
A second sheet elaborated he applied for a post in the marketing section and Trivedi recommended his name.
A set of Excel sheets used by the special task force probing the scandal and accessed by HT shows top officials went about fixing the exams for several years with such meticulous planning and brazen impunity that they recorded the marks required by each recommended candidate on department computers.
Each document contained details about each such candidate, such as the number of circles left blank, additional marks required to ensure selection, number of circles required to get those marks and the politician or official who recommended the name.
For every exam conducted by the PEB, its top executives created a spreadsheet to rig the test and push recommended students. The board organised 10 major exams since 2008, resulting in at least 10 sheets.
Watch: The A to Z of the Vyapam scam
What has left officials baffled is the impunity with which former PEB principal system analyst Nitin Mahindra and Trivedi went about in fixing the exams and didn’t hesitate to store the incriminating documents on official computers, certain that they would never be caught.
The Special Task Force, whose investigation of the scam is under a cloud after a spate of mysterious deaths of people linked to the case, based its probe on the Excel sheets recovered from Mahindra, who is in jail now. HT has exclusively accessed these sheets.
Whistleblowers have repeatedly alleged the documents were tampered with by the STF to shield top politicians including chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan. They have submitted different versions of the Excel sheets to the police and courts.
These multiple sheets floating around have added to the confusion in a probe already saddled with several deaths of witnesses and accused and allegations of a massive cover up because no one knows which document is original and which is tampered.
Senior Congress leader Digvijaya Singh added to the muddle and submitted a new set of Excel sheets, saying the STF deliberately removed the CM’s name that allegedly appeared 42 times.
These new sheets, however, were declared forged by a Special Investigation Team, a contention accepted by the high court. The ball is in the CBI’s court now.
First Published: Jul 10, 2015 21:21 IST