The office of Lokayukta N K Mehrotra is mulling over sending a special report to Governor Ram Naik as the state government is still to act on a report pointing to the “inconsistency” in the data about the number of students appearing for board examinations in Hardoi that the UP Secondary Education Board and the district’s education officer had separately released.
Mehrotra’s report to Chief Secretary Alok Ranjan in August had recommended an inquiry by an anti-corruption agency which could detect the “wrongdoing” and prosecute those found guilty.
But the state government, which was supposed to file its ‘action taken report’ in three months’ time, is yet to respond. This has prompted the Lokayukta office to consider if it should now send a special report to the Governor.
In his report, the Lokayukta had noted that as per the information provided by the secretary of the state secondary education board, there were 3,125 students in Hardoi who did not appear for the intermediate examination and another 19,625 students who gave the high school exam a miss.
Contrary to this, the figures released by Hardoi’s basic education officer Brajesh Mishra (who had supervised the two examinations in 2015 as the officiating district inspector of schools) calculated 11,068 absentees in intermediate exam and 20,566 during the high school exam.
Pointing out the difference — 7,943 and 941 — the Lokayukta asserted in its report that these students were nevertheless declared as “successful” when the results were announced.
“How these 7,943 intermediate and 941 high school students who did not even attend the exam managed to pass is a matter of inquiry. It seems necessary to get an inquiry conduced by an anti-corruption agency to identify those guilty and initiate the prosecution against them,” he said.
Principal Secretary (secondary education) Jitendra Kumar declined to discuss the Lokayukta’s findings.
Mehrotra, on the other hand, said he had asked the government to find out how the answer sheets of 8,884 students who were declared successful without attending the examinations were included among the answer sheets of those who did appear. It had also asked the government to identify the centres where these students “sat to write their papers”.
The Lokayukta had ran into these “inconsistencies” while probing a complaint against former district inspector of schools J P Mishra and the then secondary education minister Mehboob Ali. The complaint, which a school manager from Hardoi had filed, alleged that the officials had accepted bribe to declare some of the schools as examination centres. Mehrotra told The Indian Express that the allegations against Mishra and Ali could not be substantiated.