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Wednesday, January 19, 2022

TET 2020: MSCE commissioner among two held for ‘tampering with marks’

A series of malpractices in the TET came to light during a probe into an alleged paper leak ahead of the examination for recruitment to the Maharashtra Housing and Area Development Authority (MHADA).

By: Express News Service | Pune |
Updated: December 18, 2021 5:31:46 am
Speaking to The Indian Express, a senior police officer from the cybercrime branch confirmed his arrest.

THE PUNE City police arrested the Commissioner of Maharashtra State Council of Examination (MSCE) and a consultant to the Department of Education for their alleged involvement in tampering of marks of some of the candidates, who appeared in the statewide Teachers Eligibility Test (TET) held in January 2020.

Abhijit Savrikar were arrested by the cybercrime police station of Pune City police, which is currently investigating a case of alleged paper leak in the recruitment process of Maharashtra Housing and Area Development Authority (MHADA).

Meanwhile, state education minister Varsha Gaikwad on Friday constituted a committee headed by Additional Chief Secretary Vandana Krishna to probe the alleged corruption in the TET.

“If anybody is trying to indulge in any fraud and play with the future of students, it will not be tolerated. The state government will take stern action against those involved in the malpractices,” Gaikwad told the media.


Net widens

The probe that started with a paper leak related to Maharashtra State Public Health Department exam has revealed malpractices in two more examinations -- the MHADA examination, and Teachers Eligibility Test. Those arrested in all three cases include public servants.

MSCE is a Pune-headquartered body of the Government of Maharashtra, which conducts various examinations including the standard 5 and standard 8 scholarship exams, various scholastic aptitude exams, preliminary exams for various national level scholastic tests, Teachers Eligibility Test (TET), Diploma in Elementary Education, departmental recruitment exams, typing and shorthand proficiency test etc.

Pune city police had earlier unearthed a case of question paper leak in the recruitment exam for MHADA, which was scheduled on December 12. Those arrested in connection to the MHADA paper leak included Dr Pritish Diliprao Deshmukh (32), director of the GA Software Technologies Private Limited, which was contracted by the Maharashtra government to conduct the recruitment process for various positions in MHADA on December 12, 15, 19, and 20.

In the searches conducted at Deshmukh’s house police had recovered incriminating documents pointing to tampering of the marks of some of the candidates, who had appeared for TET held in January 2020. On Thursday, the cybercrime cell sleuths questioned Supe and Savrikar in connection with the TET process and the two were subsequently placed under arrest.

Police have recovered Rs 88 lakh in cash, gold ornaments and fixed deposit documents in a search conducted at the residential premises of Supe.

Pune Police Commissioner Amitabh Gupta said, “Our investigation revealed that Supe and Savrikar accepted money through various middlemen from candidates who wanted to get qualified. Amounts in the range of Rs 50,000 and Rs 1 lakh were accepted from these candidates and an amount of Rs 4.2 crore was collected in this manner. Pritish Deshmukh of GA Software then tampered with the OMR scanning process to get these candidates qualified. The amount of Rs 4.2 crore was subsequently distributed with Supe receiving RS 1.7 crore and Deshmukh and Savrikar getting Rs 1.25 crore each.”

During the investigation, police found that the MSCE had blacklisted GA Software Technologies for various malpractices in exam processes earlier. However, Supe revoked the blacklisting of the company.

Both Supe and Savrikar have been booked under various sections of the Indian Penal Code (IOC) for criminal breach of trust, cheating, criminal conspiracy and provisions of the Maharashtra Prevention of Malpractices at University, Board and Other Specified Examinations Act, 1982.

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