Probe panel finds 3 exam dept staff involved

After two months of investigations, the three-member fact-finding committee appointed by the University of Pune (UoP) has found three Examination Department staff to be prima facie involved in allegedly increasing students' marks in re-evaluation process of examination paper in lieu of some money.

The three-member probe panel headed by retired assistant commissioner of police Sharad Awasthi submitted its report to Vice-Chancellor W N Gade on Thursday. However, the three clerks who had been indicted by the committee were transferred to other departments by the varsity administration last month.

The committee has also categorically recommended that "as it was clear that a cognizable offence has taken place, the university administration should register a criminal offence with police without further delay".

The committee was set up in the first week of October to look into the alleged malpractices in the examination department of the UoP after the Cantonment police, probing a dummy student racket in Poona College, stumbled upon the alleged re-evaluation scam. Based on the information obtained from the accused in dummy racket case, the Cantonment police had handed over a list of 28 students who allegedly paid Rs 15,000 to 20,000 to clear the examinations by way of increasing their marks in the re-evaluation process. The police had also requested the university administration to lodge a formal police complaint with the Chatuhshringi police station if the university finds any truth in the evidence provided to them. The reluctance on part of the varsity administration to lodge a formal complaint had raised several eyebrows.

"We have recommended that a criminal offence should immediately be registered by the University administration so that the police could start its investigations in the case. The role of the examination department staff is clearly doubtful and prima facie it looks like the staff are hand-in-glove with the middlemen involved in the malpractices. We have also suggested some measures for plugging the gaps in the examination procedures. This is a scar on the reputation of the University and this is an opportunity for the administration to take strong steps to rectify the wrong," Awasthi told The Indian Express on Friday.

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