LUCKNOW: In a major crackdown, 19 people were arrested today for allegedly aiding cheating through hi-tech devices, such as spy-mics, and placing "solvers" impersonating aspirants in the Uttar Pradesh Police constable recruitment examination, officials said.
Eight people have been arrested from Allahabad and 11 from Gorakhpur for helping aspirants in using unfair means in the exam, they said.
The two-day examination, which began today, is being conducted by the Uttar Pradesh Police Recruitment Board at 860 centres in 56 districts to fill 41,520 posts.
"The Uttar Pradesh Police's Special Task Force (STF) has arrested as many as 11 people from Gorakhpur and five from Allahabad," Inspector General (IG) of Police, STF, Amitabh Yash told PTI here.
Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP), Allahabad, Nitin Tiwari said three more people were arrested from Allahabad and a spy microphone (mic) along with a hearing device were seized.
Solvers are generally bright students who enter examination centres with forged documents having superimposed photographs, according to the IG.
He also said bluetooth devices such as the spy-mic have been used in certain examinations earlier.
"They are small devices that can be hidden inside the ear and generally, the mobile device is strapped somewhere on the body so that the answers can be dictated," Yash said.
The crackdown comes months after 11 lakh students opted out of the UP Board exams earlier this year after the use of a special task force and local intelligence by the state government to keep a tab on the cheating mafia.
One of the persons arrested in Gorakhpur, Anil Giri, has confessed to taking money from candidates for placing "solvers" for them in the examination, a police spokesperson said here.
"Anand Yadav (BSc, LLB), one of the solvers, and Amarnath Yadav, a candidate and liasoner for Giri, have landed in the STF's net. Around Rs 4 lakh and identity cards of a dozen candidates have been recovered from them," he said.
The STF is conducting raids to arrest more people related to the cheating racket, he said.
Irfan Ahmed, Imran, Kaushal and Satendra Kr Singh, an advocate in the Allahabad High Court and resident of Ballia, were among those arrested from Allahabad, the IG said.
"Pawan Kumar Singh, a resident of Patna (a solver) has also been arrested. He was impersonating Ram Kumar Yadav, a resident of Mirzapur (UP)," Yash said.
He urged the people to inform the STF if they found any material offline or online related to the examination.
Uttar Pradesh DGP Om Prakash Singh said special instructions have been issued to keep a close watch on activities on social media.
"There was a rumour on the social media that the question paper of the ongoing examination was out in the public domain. The paper which was doing rounds, eventually turned out to be a fake question paper," he said during a visit to one of the exam centres in the state capital.
This has been done by mischievous elements, "as a person who has taken money (from aspirants) will indulge in all types of shady activities", the DGP said.
"However, our preparations are adequate and the examinations are going on smoothly," he assured.
SSP Tiwari said those arrested include Phool Chand Patel (an agent), and aspirants Manish Kumar Yadav and Ajay Kumar Yadav, who were to appear for the examination tomorrow.
"The spy mic and a device which is put in the ear have been seized," he told reporters in Allahabad.
The police is also taking efforts to arrest three others involved in this racket, he said.
Explaining the modus operandi, the SSP said, "These people used to take photos of the question paper and send them to people outside the hall so that they could solve them and send it back to the candidates."
Meanwhile, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath has expressed his condolence over the death of an aspirant in a road accident in Varanasi.
The candidate died when the bus in which he was travelling overturned.
Earlier this year, during the state board exams, the UP government had taken the help of the STF and local intelligence to curb activities of the copying mafia.
The copying mafia used to take contracts guaranteeing success in the class 10 and 12 board exams.
Impersonators were made to appear in the examination in place of real candidates and centres were earmarked where copying could be facilitated easily.
CCTV cameras were also installed at all examination centres and from next year, the state government plans to make Aadhaar compulsory for students filling forms for the board exam.