Chennai

DVAC uncovers revaluation scam at Anna University

A view of the Anna University building in Chennai.   | Photo Credit: B. Jothi Ramalingam

The Directorate of Vigilance and Anti-Corruption on Wednesday exposed a major scam in the award of marks during revaluation of answer scripts in the Anna University.

Ten academicians, including the former Controller of Examinations Prof. G.V. Uma, were named as accused in the scandal involving a large number of students who allegedly paid bribes to boost their scores during the revaluation of answer scripts.

The agency conducted a surprise check on the premises of the suspects and seized incriminating documents, including copies of answer scripts as well as property documents.

This is the second time that an incident of this nature has been recorded in Anna University; the last one coming in June 2012.

In June 2012, two faculty members had given in writing that they were pressured by some top university officials to award higher marks to certain students during revaluation. However, the accused in that case, who were initially suspended from service, had subsequently gone scot-free due to lack of conclusive evidence. In the latest instance, the First Information Report said in April/May 2017, Dr. Uma, presently Professor, Department of Information Science and Technology, Anna University, conspired with Dr. P. Vijayakumar, Assistant Professor/Dean (in-charge), University College of Engineering, Tindivanam, and Dr. R. Sivakumar, Assistant Professor, University College of Engineering, Tindivanam, and demanded ₹10,000 from each student to boost marks during the revaluation process.

Marks forged

The suspects allegedly forged answer scripts by altering the marks to benefit the students who paid bribes. The accused persons “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 disappearance of evidence relating to the criminal offence committed by them.”

Preliminary investigation revealed that of the 3,02,380 students who applied for revaluation, 73,733 passed and as many as 16,636 got enhanced marks. Dr. Uma served as Controller of Examinations of Anna University during 2015-18. Dr. Vijayakumar and Dr. Sivakumar were zonal coordinators for the valuation centre at Tindivanam. The remaining accused — R. Sundarajan, M. Mahesh Babu, N. Anbuselvan, C.N. Pratheeba, I. Pragadheeswarar, M. Rameshkannan and S. Ramesh — were professors/lecturers during the same period.

“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.

Evidence destroyed

According to the DVAC, the accused destroyed a large number of answer scripts without following the due procedures in a bid to eliminate evidence. However, dozens of answer scripts that were seized clearly 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,” the officer said.

When investigators conducted a check by referring some seized answer scripts to independent examiners, it was found that the marks awarded were disproportionately high. During a discreet enquiry prior to registering the case, investigators gathered adequate evidence to prove that students paid bribes to get enhanced marks. The corruption angle was substantiated with other material evidence besides statements of some examiners who admitted to pressure from the suspected officials to commit the offence, sources in the agency added.

Investigation was on to examine students, examiners and all others involved in the process of revaluation in the last academic year. Since there was a procedure to get the concurrence of the Passing Board to treat the revaluation marks as equivalent to the original marks obtained by the student and also to recommend action against examiners who were found guilty, the DVAC officials were trying to check if any such complaint was reported to the university authorities and any action contemplated against the examiners or their superiors.

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Printable version | May 8, 2021 5:24:50 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/chennai/dvac-uncovers-revaluation-scam-at-anna-university/article24576683.ece

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