The Directorate of Vigilance and Anti-Corruption (DVAC), Tamil Nadu’s Anti-Corruption Bureau, has unearthed a bribery scam in the revaluation of answer sheets by Anna University.
Here are 10 things to know the alleged scam:
A large number of students reportedly paid money to have their scores enhanced during revaluation of their answer scripts. The New Indian Express reports that the students paid Rs 10, 000 each for the excess marks. “We suspect that several thousands of engineering students paid bribes to boost their scores. Many of them would have graduated as engineers from Anna University. During searches, we seized copies of answer scripts and documents of immovable assets from the residential and office premises of Dr. Uma and others. The accused have been booked under the provisions of the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988, and also on charges of conspiracy, cheating, forgery and criminal misconduct,” a senior DVAC officer told The Hindu.
The DVAC conducted a surprise inspection of the premises of the suspects and seized incriminating evidence, which included copies of answer scripts and property documents. The First Information Report was filed in April/May 2017.
According to The Times of India, a preliminary investigation revealed that of the 3,02,380 students who applied for revaluation, 73,733 passed and about 16,636 got enhanced marks in the revaluation done during August 2017. The suspects allegedly altered marks on the answer sheets of the students who paid the bribes.
A case has been registered under IPC for criminal conspiracy, public servant framing fake document, the disappearance of evidence, cheating, forgery, etc. along with the Prevention of Corruption Act.
According to The Hindu, the accused “destroyed a maximum number of the answer scripts of the students for whom they awarded enhanced marks/pass marks in the revaluation done during August 2017 at Tindivanam and thereby caused the disappearance of evidence relating to the criminal offence committed by them.”
However, reports the newspaper, numerous answer scripts that were seized revealed the nature of the offence. “If during the first revaluation, a student gets marks which are 15% more than the original score, the answer script is referred to a third examiner. It is here that the offence took place. Higher marks were awarded to students by forging the answer scripts that were destroyed. Teachers who refused to cooperate and insisted on awarding actual marks were debarred from the process of valuation,” an officer told The Hindu.
According to another report by The Hindu, former Controller of Examinations, Prof GV Uma, has been named as an accused in the scam. GV Uma served as Controller of Examinations from 2015 to 2018. Uma is currently a professor in the Department of Information Science and Technology.
Nine other academicians are also involved. Zonal coordinators for the valuation centre at Tindivanam, Dr Vijayakumar and Dr Sivakumar, have also been named as accused. The other accused, R Sundarajan, M Mahesh Babu, N Anbuselvan, CN Pratheeba, I Pragadheeswarar, M Ramesh Kannan and S Ramesh were professors/lecturers during the same period.
This is not the first time that a revaluation scam has come to light. In June 2012, two faculty members gave it in writing that they were being pressurised by top varsity officials to award excess marks to some students during the revaluation. The accused were initially suspended but were deemed not guilty due to lack of conclusive evidence.
Previously, the DVAC had registered a case against former Anna University Vice-Chancellor Rajaram and six others for allegations of corruption in the recruitment of teaching faculties in the varsity between 2013-2016.