Technology could have prevented TRB scam

By Nivedhika Krishnan Published on Jul 16, 2018 12:30 PM IST

Chennai: Probe into the manipulation of examination held for the recruitment of lecturers to government polytechnics generated shock waves across the State recently.

News Today's investigation into the scam has also revealed that the authorities responsible for conducting the examination had little knowledge about the technology that resulted in the TRB scam.

The examination held for the recruitment of lecturers to government polytechnic colleges was allegedly rigged with aid of a few employees of the electricity board, a junior assistant in the Elementary Education Department, a headmaster, a call taxi driver and a canteen owner in the DPI complex on College Road.

A senior official from the department said, “Only the top rung officials had knowledge about the software and technology used for validating the Optical mark recognition sheets (also called optical mark reading and OMR). Unfortunately, a majority of the employees in the department failed to update themselves. This scam would have been nipped in its bud if they had gained knowledge about it.”

The probe, that was moving in a swift manner during its initial phase said to have hit a roadblock after the main suspect, Subramanian and his alleged accomplice Rajesh managed to get an anticipatory bail recently.

RS 25 LAKH PER CANDIDATE

Elaborating about the busted network, the official said, “Subramani acted as a bridge and connected candidates who were ready to offer money to middlemen attached to Datatech Methodex Private Limited, the agency that was contracted to execute all exam-related work- from issuing online applications to final publication of results.”

“The suspects charged Rs 25 lakh per candidate to manipulate and get a favourable result in the recruitment exam. The brokers were given Rs 2 to 3 lakh out of this,”the official revealed.

The agency headquartered in New Delhi identified that the malpractices occurred in 196 papers. The official also clarified that Datatech was not directly involved in the scam and only its workers employed in the city had a part in it.

POLICE FINDINGS

The Cyber Crime Wing found the malpractices occurred in OMR sheets within a short span of starting investigations.

Explaining the procedure of the exams, a police officer said, “After the exam get over, the bundled OMR sheets kept under the custody of the government department are given to the agency for scanning. Then, the original sheets are given back to the authorities and their scanned copies are withheld. After this procedure, answer keys are prepared for tallying final marks.

“In the recent scam, the men in agency swapped OMR sheets for the scanned copies and attempted to get favourable results for their desired candidates,” the officer revealed.

“The sheets can be manipulated using computer itself. However, the given original sheets will be untouched,”he explained.

BACKGROUND

The Cyber Crime Wing has arrested 15 people in connection with the scam so far. Four persons belonging to Datatech Methodex Private Limited were also arrested.

The Teachers’ Recruitment Board proposed to conduct a written examination for direct recruitment to fill 1,058 posts of lecturers in government polytechnic colleges. A total of 1,70,366 candidates applied for the post and 1,33,566 candidates appeared for the examination.

The scam came to light after Vijayanand, a candidate petitioned the Prime Minister’s office and the Chief Minister’s cell last November.

The complainant alleged that EEE candidates who scored very low marks in TNEB recruitment exam got ranks in the exam.