Maharashtra exam council chief held for fraud in teacher eligibility test

Probe into MHADA exam paper leak led to arrest, say Pune police

In a development which raises serious questions on the conduct of fair examinations in Maharashtra, the Pune police have arrested two persons, including Commissioner of the Maharashtra State Council of Examination (MSCE) Tukaram Supe, in connection with alleged malpractices which include tampering with students’ marks in the Teachers Eligibility Test (TET).

The MSCE is the State’s premier exam conducting body which organises the TET where diploma holders are required to be declared as ‘eligible candidates’ to secure jobs in schools and institutions run by the State Government and local self-governing bodies.

Exam postponed

According to authorities, the alleged malpractices in the TET, which was held in January 2020, came to light now during the probe of the recent question paper leak before the Maharashtra Housing and Area Development Authority (MHADA) examination. The exam had been postponed by the Government on December 12 and is now scheduled to be held in mid-January next year.

The police found more than ₹88 lakh in cash during search and seizure operations in Mr. Supe’s house, said Pune Commissioner of Police Amitabh Gupta.

“Tukaram Supe, the Commissioner of MSCE, was arrested by the cyber cell of the Pune police following his questioning in the alleged malpractices in the TET examination late Thursday. Also arrested was Abhishek Savarikar, a consultant to the State Education department, on the charge of conniving with the director of the software company to tamper with the marks of some candidates during the TET,” Mr. Gupta said, adding more arrests were likely to follow.

Six persons have already been arrested in the MHADA paper leak case, including Pritish Deshmukh, director of the same software firm which was contracted by the Government for conducting the TET exam.

Mr. Deshmukh had been arrested on the intervening night of December 11 and 12 in the MHADA exam case, compelling Maharashtra Housing Minister Jitendra Awhad to announce postponement of the exam in a video message in the wee hours of December 12.

Police said Mr. Supe and Mr. Savarikar were allegedly in cahoots with Mr. Deshmukh.

“From what we have discovered so far, the trio had collected around ₹4.20 crore by charging anything between ₹35,000 to ₹1 lakh per candidate whose marks they then tampered with to make them eligible,” said Mr. Gupta.

Embarrassment to Govt.

The development comes as a major embarrassment to the ruling Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) Government which has been facing criticism from irate students and the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party. The BJP has accused the MVA Government of gross inefficiency in conducting government examinations by awarding contracts to dubious and blacklisted firms.

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