In a setback for Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, who had dismissed allegations against the state Public Service Commission (PSC) as "totally baseless" and asked the media to end its "negative campaign", the Crime Branch has decided to seek results of all its recruitment exams for the past few years.
The probe team, according to sources in the know of things, is expected to give a letter for this to the PSC Secretary in the coming days.
This sudden move came after the Kerala High Court, which last week heard the bail pleas of a few people accused of manipulating the police constable examination, said that it is high time that an external agency probes the PSC's activities.
The Kerala PSC's credibility took a beating after a probe into a campus brawl at the University College in Thiruvananthapuram where a student was stabbed, found discrepancies in the conduct of its examinations.
Akhil, the student of the college was stabbed by Shivarenjith, Naseem and their group, all attached to the CPI(M) affiliated Students Federation of India (SFI).
With the media taking this case in a big way and the civil society also joining in, police stumbled upon crucial evidence that things are not fair in the PSC recruitment process, with the two prime accused having managed to get top ranks in the police constable examination.
Even after this, Pinarayi staunchly defended the PSC and alleged that there seemed to be a section trying to tarnish the image of the constitutionally set-up body, doing yeomen service in recruitment of employees from peons to deputy secretaries.
At one time, he even went to the extent of saying that there is nothing to be probed at the PSC, while the Congress and the BJP went hammer and tongs against Pinarayi, demanding a CBI probe into the PSC activities.
Now following the high court's observation, the police probe team has decided to approach the PSC for a wider probe, thus denting Pinarayiā€™s position.
Incidentally, the PSC Rank Holders Association was the first to demand a probe by an independent agency, as the alleged manipulations cannot be done by one or two people only and there seems to be a group behind this.
Kerala HC seeks wider investigation into PSC exam malpractice controversy
SFI members Sivaranjith and Naseem confess they cheated during Kerala police exams