MADURAI: Tamil Nadu Public Service Commission (TNPSC) officials can only be accused of negligence and except two lower-level staff, no other officials had colluded in the TNPSC Group IV- 2019 scam, the CB-CID informed the Madurai Bench of Madras High Court on Wednesday. The investigation agency was submitting its probe status report following a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) filed by advocate I Mohamed Razvi, who sought a CBI probe into the scam.
During the examination held in September 2019, as many as 99 candidates reportedly used pens containing ‘vanishing ink’ to mark answers in OMR sheet at Rameswaram and Keelakarai exam centres. Later, the correct answers were filled in by some persons who, allegedly with the help of two TNPSC staff, tampered with the answer sheets when they were being transported to Chennai in a van. The CB-CID investigation is underway, and 118 persons have already been arrested. Meanwhile, Razvi claimed involvement of higher officials of TNPSC in the scam.
A Division Bench of Justices Pushpa Sathyanarayana and P Velmurugan perused through the status report filed by Deputy Superintendent of Police, CB-CID. The report stated that the investigation is progressing fast and after receiving certain reports from the Tamil Nadu Forensic Science Laboratory (TNFSL) on the seized materials, CB-CID would submit its final report before the jurisdictional court. “The inquiry reveals that there was negligence on the part of the TNPSC officials in carrying out their duties but except a record clerk and a typist, no other officials were found to have colluded in the scam,” CB-CID said in its report, adding that action has been recommended against them.
A counter affidavit filed by the Chief Secretary also stated that the litigant’s contention that the malpractice could not have taken place without the help of higher officials is just an ‘assumption’. However, the judges orally questioned the Tamil Nadu Public Service Commission as to why the examination conducted in the centres, where the malpractice took place, was not cancelled. They also asked why the tampering of the wax seal of the transit van, in which the answer sheets were transported to Chennai, was not identified at the initial stage. This seems to be a preplanned incident and shows the negligence of TNPSC officials, the judges observed.
Though the counsel representing TNPSC said the commission had imposed new conditions in the 2019 examination to prevent malpractice and the accused’s ploy to use ‘vanishing ink’ was an attempt to overcome the same, the judges retorted, “Culprits will always come up with new ways (to commit offence). Unless there is a fair person in the responsible position, nothing can be changed.” They adjourned the case for passing orders.