Following the revelation that three candidates of the state Public Service Commission (PSC) examinations admitted to malpractice, the Kerala High Court noted on Friday that a wider investigation into the discrepancies was necessary. The three candidates' names were featured in this year's PSC rank list.
The observation was made by the High Court following an anticipatory bail petition filed by 26-year-old Safeer D, who is the fourth accused in the PSC examination fraud case, in which former leaders of the Studentâ€™s Federation of India (SFI) of the Thiruvananthapuram University College are involved.
On August 6, SFI members R Sivaranjith, AN Naseem and Pranav were barred for life from taking the PSC examinations after an Internal Vigilance Committee discovered major irregularities and malpractices in the police constable examinations of the Kerala PSC. The cyber police had found that the three had received text messages from a particular number during the time of the examination. One of those numbers belonged to the petitioner Safeer and another to the 5th accused in the case, who has not been identified.
The counsel appearing for the petitioner, who has been accused of helping the SFI leaders by providing answers through text messages during the exams, argued that Safeer is innocent. He also noted that prosecution could not state how the petitioner came in possession of the answers.
However, the court pointed out that Sivaranjith, who is the first accused in the case, had received 94 text messages from Safeer during the examination time. By stating that the prosecution could not so far find out as to how Safeer and the 5th accused could collect the questions and answers, the HC observed that a custodial interrogation of the accused is necessary for the progress of the investigation of the case.
The court also stated that the question papers of the PSC would not be available outside the examination hall till the particular examinations are over. The court observed that it appeared that two of the accused - R Sivaranjith and Naseem - obtained the answers to the questions after they were transmitted via SMS by two other accused - Safeer and the unnamed 5th accused.
By stating that only two of the accused know the identity of the persons who handed over the questions and answers to them, the court stated that a custodial interrogation of the petitioner is absolutely necessary for the progress of the case.
â€śThe modus operandi involved in the case impels the court to think that a very efficient and wider investigation, at least with regard to the recent appointments is necessary to regain the trust of the public in the PSC examinations,â€ť stated the Kerala HC.