The Administrative Officer of KEA, S.P. Kulkarni, has now been suspended for allegedly tampering documents, reportedly at the verification stage, of 70 students to help them secure seats by changing their quota. The KEA issued show-cause notices to the 70 students as well as the “certificate issuing authorities” (the Block Education Officer/principal of the institution/tahsildar). According to officials, they have been given a fortnight’s time to reply, after which a decision will be taken.

Students who were admitted to courses in the academic year 2013-14 through the CET said they were feeling betrayed after allegations of manipulation in seat allotment surfaced.

One student, who did not wish to be named, said, “We had assumed that the online seat allotment system was transparent. Many of my friends were forced to take up engineering courses though they wanted medical seats due to the high cut-offs. People like me were forced to take up seats in lesser known engineering colleges. We were basically denied opportunities.”

Those who underwent counselling in 2013 pointed out that by changing the reservation category of these 70 students, or by introducing reservation category for them, genuine students in these categories had been denied seats.

However, a parent whose son took the counselling for a medical seat last year, said: “Technically speaking, general merit candidates would not have been affected by this tampering.”

Logic of allotment

Going by the logic of the online seat allotment process of the KEA, a candidate’s rank under the general merit (GM) quota is considered first (if he/she has not applied under the supernumerary quota).

The third reference in the roster is the special category allotment (SCG).

Besides allegation of tampering, counselling process for admissions to professional courses for Common Entrance Test (CET) rank holders in 2013 was riddled with chaos and confusion.

While the Consortium of Medical, Engineering and Dental Colleges of Karnataka (COMEDK) conducted the counselling for private seats ahead of the counselling by Karnataka Examinations Authority (KEA), there was a delay in the announcement of government and government-quota seat matrix and online payment of fees was introduced.

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