Already under the scanner for its alleged nexus with coaching centres, the Kerala government recruitment body Public Service Commission (PSC) is in the dock for allegedly copying questions of the Pakistan civil service exam for the recently-held Kerala administrative service (KAS) exam.
Around 3.40 lakh applicants on last Saturday appeared for the KAS exam, meant for direct recruitment for the post of deputy collector. That the selected persons would get IAS-conferred within eight years had made KAS exam a high-profile event among job seekers.
Congress legislator P T Thomas has alleged that six questions in the KAS preliminary exam were copied from the Pakistan civil service exam held in 2001. “This is a grave lapse on the part of the state PSC. The government should order a probe into this incident,” Thomas said.
PSC chairman M K Sakeer said the allegation was meant to tarnish the image of PSC. “The question papers have been prepared by experts in the country and the PSC does not have any control over them. The topic of public administration is the same everywhere in the world… As those questions were in the theory section, they could be asked in any exam in any country. There is nothing wrong in questions from one exam appearing in another exam…,” he said.
However, former PSC chairman Dr K S Radhakrishnan said PSC has a responsibility to ensure the credibility of its exams, and said that the chairman is responsible for any incident that dents its image. “Lifting of questions from the Pakistan civil service exam is a grave lapse and it cannot be justified,” he said.
The state vigilance and anti-corruption bureau is already conducting a probe into the allegation that questions of the KAS exam had been leaked by a lobby which has close links with officials at the PSC. The probe is being held based on complaints from a section of KAS applicants.
The probe has found that two officials at public administration department at the state secretariat were running PSC coaching centres, which were floated in the name of their close relatives. Applicants of the KAS had alleged that the coaching centres, run by government officials Shibu Nair and Ranjan Raj, were luring students with the promise that they were privy to the preparation of the question papers of various PSC exams.
Last year, the PSC had suffered a major setback after it was revealed that two leaders of SFI — the student wing of the ruling CPI(M) — had emerged top in the rank list of police constables after committing malpractices.
The PSC had not cancelled the rank list but removed the two SFI workers after they got involved in a attempt to murder case.
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