Madhya Pradesh finds itself in yet another examination racket – this time it is the Class 10th and 12th open school examination getting rigged at three centres – Ratlam, Umaria and Sehore. As per Indian Express report the Human Resource Development (HRD) ministry has asked the CBI to probe the alleged irregularities in this year’s NIOS (National Institute of Open Schooling) results. Following this, a letter by NIOS Chairman Chandra B Sharma on August 22 pointed out that a preliminary investigation had found that over 1000 candidates have passed the examination without appearing for it. The NIOS was alerted about “large-scale malpractice” in the exam, in the first week of June. It was confined to the examination centres of Kendriya Vidyalaya on Sagod Road (Ratlam district), Jawahar Navodaya Vidyalaya, Pali (Umaria district) and Jawahar Navodaya Vidyalaya, Shyampur (Sehore district), as well as the Guwahati regional centre where the answer scripts were evaluated.
Here are the findings of the probe:
Manipulated attendance sheet:
The day NIOS exam is scheduled candidates mark their attendance on two sheets- one identifying each candidate with her name and photograph, and another carrying signatures. After the exam is over the attendance sheet with the photograph is sent to the regional office and the other one to the evaluation centre. Interestingly, the three-member committee found that the attendance sheets that were sent to evaluation centre in Guwahati were manipulated. The three-member committee found that attendance sheets dispatched from each of three examination centres to the evaluation centre in Guwahati were manipulated too.
Fake answer scripts:
All NIOS exam centres, according to rules have to return the unused answer sheets to their respective regional centres after the exam. During the investigation at the regional centre of Bhopal on July 7, the committee discovered that all the unused answer sheets had been duly returned by the exam centres in Ratlam and Umaria, however, the Guwahati evaluation centre, received answer sheets including those belonging to absent candidates. Since the accompanying attendance sheet (carrying signatures) received at Guwahati showed all the candidates as present, the evaluation centre, it seems, did not suspect anything, as per Indian Express report.
Missing NIOS logo
When the probe committee went through the answer scripts evaluated at Guwahati, it noticed that the ones belonging to the absentee candidates did not have the NIOS logo imprint. However, the serial numbers on fake answer scripts received at Guwahati were similar to the ones on the unused answer scripts returned to the Bhopal regional centre. The panel also observed many examples of two different types of handwriting in a single answer script.
Mysterious bank deposits
Earlier, on August 10, the regional director of the NIOS Guwahati centre received an email from an ‘R P Singh’ asking for the mobile number of an employee. After an inspection of the bank account of the employee, the committee found several deposits, amounting to Rs 4.9 lakhs. The amount was credited between May 9 and June 23, from Mayur Vihar in Delhi. Interestingly, the deposits were disproportionate to the employee’s income, the probe committee observed, reported IE.
Curious composition of candidates
The committee found it strange that a majority of the candidates registered to appear at the examination centres in Sehore, Ratlam and Umaria were from Punjab or Odisha. According to sources, the panel felt that this was strange as one would expect the registration list to reflect the local population. The three-member panel that conducted the preliminary probe included Professor Mazhar Asif, chairman of the regional advisory committee at the NIOS Guwahati centre; Professor Pawan Kumar Sharma, chairman of the regional centre advisory committee at the NIOS Bhopal centre; and Dr Babli Choudhury, member of the regional centre advisory committee at the NIOS Guwahati centre.