‘Marks tampering, leaks, confusion’ — series of controversies hits Maharashtra govt job exams

Mumbai: The problem of document leaks and malpractices in various government recruitment exams in Maharashtra has shaken up the current assembly session and led to several arrests. However, while the state government and the Opposition point out each other, it is the students who face the brunt.

In recent months, three government examinations have caused controversy over leaks of paper and alleged alteration of trademarks.

These are the Maharashtra health department recruitment exams for Groups C and D in October, the Teacher Eligibility Test (TET) in November, and the recruitment exams for the Maharashtra Housing and Area Development Authority (MHADA ) in December.

The Pune Cyber ​​Police is conducting an investigation into the three exams and has so far arrested 25 people, including Maharashtra State Examination Council (MSCE) commissioner Tukaram Supe and Sukhdev Dere, who was commissioner of the MSCE until 2017.

Police also arrested the director and other employees of GA Software Pvt Ltd, a company that was hired in 2021 to take the TET and MHADA exams.

GA Software had previously been blacklisted by Devendra Fadnavis’s former government in the state, but was given the go-ahead by Tukaram Supe this year. The BJP is now demanding a CBI investigation into this matter, but the state government rejects it.

As controversy continues over exam irregularities, candidates believe their futures are at stake.

“Some students say that the exams should be canceled after the leak of the paper, while others say that we study very hard, but we may not be able to pass a new exam”, Santosh Magar, president of the Diploma in Teacher Training (DTED) student association, he told ThePrint.

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The political blame game

Maharashtra opposition leader Devendra Fadnavis said this week that he believed irregularities in recruitment exams could be traced back to the Mantralaya (the seat of government power).

“If connections to the recruitment scam reach Mantralaya, then the state police will not be able to remain impartial in their investigations, so we are demanding an investigation from the CBI,” Fadnavis told reporters on the sidelines of the winter session of the Maharashtra Assembly.

However, the state government has responded that there is no need for a CBI investigation and has claimed that the irregularities actually date back to when the BJP leader, Fadnavis, was the prime minister.

He has pointed the finger at the now-defunct MahaPariksha portal, which was launched under the Fadnavis government in 2016 for online exams. This portal was also the subject of controversies due to irregularities that led to student protests last year, after which it was scrapped.

The state government has also said it is taking the necessary steps to address the irregularities in this year’s hiring exams.

“The government is investigating the problem of paper leakage in recruitment examinations and has decided to blacklist all these companies,” Cabinet Minister Nawab Malik told reporters on Tuesday. He hinted that the Fadnavis government was responsible for hiring the private companies that have been conducting the exams, and he also drew parallels between the Maharashtra exam scam and the Vyapam scam in Madhya Pradesh, where applicants allegedly bribed into job placement. work and university places. The BJP has denied such allegations.

The students bear the brunt

Lakhs of students are reeling from canceled or compromised exams. Recently, on December 12, the state Housing Minister Jitendra Awhad Announced on his Twitter at 1.24am that the MHADA exam, which was to take place that morning, was canceled due to evidence of the document leaking.

Students who responded directly to him on Twitter expressed anger that they had traveled long distances from their hometowns to get to test centers. A bus strike on the same day compounded their problems.

The Maharashtra health department recruitment exams for Groups C and D were also fraught with controversy.

The examinations, which were originally scheduled to take place in September, were finally carried out on October 24 and 31, as the private company in charge had allegedly not made adequate preparations in time. However, when the exams were finally carried out, there were obvious bad practices in the game, the students alleged. Security at the exam centers was said to be weak and the document was allegedly also leaked.

Tanaji Telange, a Nanded resident who took Group C health department exams, told ThePrint that he got two entrance tickets. “I was very confused when I saw two hall tickets. Worse still, I got those tickets the night before at 10pm. Such was the confusion. When we have the MPSC [Maharashtra Public Service Commission]So what is the need for such private companies anyway? ” I ask.

Mangesh Deshmukh, a candidate for the MHADA health and testing department, also said private companies were mismanaging the tests.

“I have given MPSC exams… in those there are policemen who supervise security. I couldn’t find anyone here. Nobody also asked me my identity. The fear was that anyone could have gone instead to give the exams, “he said.

Sanjay Chavan, 30, told ThePrint that he had spent two years of his life continuously studying for government recruiting exams.

A resident of a village 150 km from the nearest city, Aurangabad, has been living a precarious existence. His farming family is struggling with loans and he doesn’t win either. To pay for the subscription to the library and books, Sanjay also takes loans from his friends. He had high hopes when he went to take the TET in November, even if it meant paying Rs 2,000 to get to the test center in Aurangabad.

He told ThePrint he was devastated when the paper was found to have a leak and the results might not hold. “It gets very depressing. I get angry. What did I study for? I dream of getting a job in the government. Now I’m getting old and I can’t get any private jobs, ”he said.

(Edited by Asavari Singh)

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