The National Institute of Open Schooling (NIOS) has written to the HRD Ministry seeking an investigation by “vigilance agencies” into irregularities in the Class X and XII results announced this year, after its preliminary inquiry found that hundreds of candidates from Madhya Pradesh passed the open school examination without appearing for it.
Confirming the development, NIOS chairman Chandra B Sharma told The Indian Express that on August 22 he recommended a detailed investigation by the Centre into the serious irregularities found across three NIOS examination centres in Madhya Pradesh — Ratlam, Umaria and Sehore.
Asked if he had sought a CBI investigation, Sharma said, “I do not want to name the vigilance agency at this moment.” Sources in the HRD Ministry confirmed the receipt of Sharma’s letter. “The government is seized of the matter. It is being looked into,” said a ministry source, who did not want to identified.
The NIOS, an autonomous institution that works under the HRD Ministry, is the largest Open School Board in the world. This year, over two lakh candidates appeared for the secondary and senior secondary-level examination held in March-April.
The Board had set up a three-member inquiry committee in the last week of June to look into complaints of irregularities from Madhya Pradesh, a state that was rocked by allegations of corruption in the Vyapam exam. Simultaneously, NIOS also withdrew the results of over 1,000 students who were suspected to have skipped the exam in the state.
“We wanted a fair inquiry, which is why the committee members were not from within the NIOS system. They submitted their findings about 20 days ago, based on which I have recommended a proper investigation,” said Sharma.
The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) held a press conference on the issue in Bhopal on Friday. The party alleged that as many as 1,200 candidates from the state were absent on the day of the exam, and yet they were declared as passed.
Party leaders also shared the attendance sheet of candidates who were enrolled at the NIOS centres in Ratlam, Umaria and Sehore to prove that a majority of examinees did not appear for the exam.
According to documents shared by AAP’s state convenor Alok Agarwal, out of the 693 candidates who were supposed to sit for the exam in Kendriya Vidyalaya, Sagod, only 19 appeared. Yet, when the results were declared, everybody was shown as having passed. Similarly, 351 candidates meant to take the exam at Jawahar Navodaya Vidyalaya, Sehore, and 175 candidates at Navodaya Vidyalaya, Umaria, were absent, but declared passed.
Agrawal demanded that the government should set up a special investigation team to probe irregularities at all NIOS centres in Madhya Pradesh.