The Criminal Investigation Department (CID) in Karnataka arrested seven people earlier this week in connection with the Police Sub-Inspector (PSI) recruitment examination. The CID on Sunday also raided the house of Divya Hagaragi, the former president of Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) women’s unit in Kalaburagi district.
What is the PSI recruitment scam and how was the fraud unearthed? The Indian Express explains.
The Police Sub-Inspector recruitment examination
The examination for 545 posts of Police Sub-Inspector was held in October last year and around 54,041 students appeared for it.
Following the results in January this year, some of the aspirants alleged irregularities. They claimed many of the students who performed poorly in descriptive writing got as many as 130 marks in paper 2 which raised suspicion. A letter was sent by one police officer from Kalaburgi and Mysuru to the Director General of Police (DGP) to conduct a revaluation. However, the officers denied any irregularities. In a written reply during the assembly session, state home minister Araga Jnanendra said there was no malpractice in the examination.
As Araga Jnanendra asked for proof, one of the candidates filed an application under Right to Information (RTI) that the OMR sheets of one of the candidates be made public. However, the recruitment wing of Karnataka State Police declined his request, citing law. Later, the OMR sheet of one of the accused, Veeresh, surfaced.
It was then that the state home minister said the CID will be investigating the case.
What the probe says
According to primary investigation, Veeresh had attended only 21 questions in Paper-2 but secured 100 marks and got 7th rank even as each question carried 1.5 marks.
A police officer said, “The aspirants paid Rs 5 to 10 lakh in advance and got to know the examination centre and room. It is a confidence building exercise… On the day of the examination, the students attended questions as instructed by the agent and were asked to hand over the OMR sheet to the agent, who were then supposed to hand it over only on the result day after taking the remaining payment by the candidate.”
“The OMR sheet was reportedly forged at the examination centre itself. The probe also revealed that the CCTV cameras installed in the college were dysfunctional to destroy any kind of evidence. Besides that, there have been allegations of students using bluetooth devices in specific examination centres,” the officer added.
How many people have been arrested so far?
After the CID took over the investigation, it issued notice to all the candidates to produce their OMR sheets. The police on Monday took the accused to the examination centre as part of the probe.
CID has arrested eight persons including husband of BJP leader Divya Hagaragi who runs Gyan Jyothi Institution, where Veeresh appeared for the examination. The others arrested include two candidates, jail warden, and three supervisors. Divya is absconding but her Rajesh Hagaragi is in police custody.
After the incident came to light, the BJP distanced itself from her, saying she is not associated with the party.
How have political parties reacted?
Congress MLA Priyank Kharge alleged that over 300 candidates have paid Rs 70-80 lakh each to officials & ministers.
“The Police Sub Inspector recruitment process reeks of corruption. More than 300 of 545 candidates selected have supposedly paid 70-80 lakhs each to officials and ministers. BJP office bearers have been arrested, a few are absconding with Govt’s help. BJP govt is only interested in their 40 per cent, it doesn’t matter if the future of youth is in jeopardy… The Chief Minister and home minister are clueless,” she said.
Meanwhile, Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai said the BJP government will probe the matter and will ensure justice.
The state home minister said, “No one would be protected and CID is probing the case in order to expose the irregularities. We will ensure deserved aspirants get justice.
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