The Maharashtra Anti Corruption Bureau has summoned several officials and staff members of the Mumbai University (MU) in connection with an alleged racket that has come to light during the agency’s investigations.
ACB officials said that inquiries so far point towards the involvement of at least one peon with the MU, and that the possibility of him having help from other MU insiders cannot be denied.
The officials said the investigations into the possibility of a racket involving marks of students began with the arrest of an accused identified as Arun Salian, who was allegedly caught red handed while accepting Rs 10,000 from the father of a third year Bachelor of Arts (BA) student in exchange for getting her marks increased so that she cleared her psychology paper. During a search of a pan beedi store owned by Salian, the ACB found documents or copies of documents like hall tickets, school leaving certificates and marksheets belonging to 18 students.
“Further investigations revealed the involvement of a peon with the MU, along with another civilian. The civilian would approach parents and offer to pass their children in the exams. After getting details of the students, he would pass them on to the peon, who would access their marksheets on the MU database before results were declared. Even if the students had passed in their exams, the peon and the civilian would tell the parents that they had failed, but that their marks had now been ‘managed’, after which they would take money from the parents,” said a senior ACB officer.
The peon and the civilian are still being questioned. Meanwhile, during inquiries with the MU, the ACB found at least three marksheets in which the final tally of the marks were overwritten and the figure changed. “We have asked the MU to instruct the concerned examiners, moderators as well as all staff members who handled the marksheets to come for inquiries on Wednesday. We will be quizzing them to find out if they are in any way connected to Salian or to the other suspects in the case. We will also be examining their call data records (CDRs) to check for any contact between them and Salian,” said Additional Superintendent of Police Vasant Devarkar, ACB, Mumbai.
Devarkar added that details of the 18 students whose documents were found in Salian’s possession have also been asked for from the MU, and that a response from them is awaited.
A MU official said, “As soon as we learned about the ACB’s action, we formed a fact finding committee comprising two deans and a senate member. After completing its inquiries, the committee made a recommendation to the Board of Examinations that an assistant registrar, a superintendent, a head clerk and a junior clerk be suspended, and the action was taken immediately.”