TAMIL NADU

Two Periyakulam college employees in custody for question paper leak

MADURAI, APRIL 24. Two employees of a self-financing college at Periyakulam were today taken into police custody in connection with the question paper leak of Madurai-Kamaraj University. They were brought here for interrogation based on the clues given by students during questioning by the MKU enquiry committee in the last four days. The varsity described it as a ``midnight breakthrough.'' The question papers of the remaining examinations have been brought to Madurai to avoid anymore problem.

The committee had alerted the police last night after collecting the evidence towards involvement of the college and its employees in the leak of two question papers of B.Sc. and B.Com degree final year examinations, according to sources.

The two persons taken for police enquiry are a typist and peon of the college. Based on a complaint, the police picked up the duo from Periyakulam and brought to Nagamalai here. According to university sources, three students belonging to various colleges in the city have given a hand-written statement to the committee last night stating the name of the college and the persons who supplied the question papers. The university approached the police citing the students' statement.

``The covers of the question papers at the Periyakulam college were found tampered with and the colour of the `seal' changed,'' said a Syndicate member, after handing over all the documents to the police. The university authorities also contacted the Superintendent of Police last night to brief him of the developments.

The university said that several hours of `talks' with the students for four days had led to the final links in the leak. ``It all happened late last night. The students confessed that they had purchased the question papers from Periyakulam. The original paper was brought from the locker and a student first wrote down all the questions,'' said sources in the university.

In a related development, the Registrar, V. Alagappan, said permanent observers would be sent straight from the university everyday for the remaining papers, carrying the question papers with them.

Syndicate planning steps

The MKU is considering cancellation of the status of examination centres to a few colleges. The varsity today admitted that the recent question paper leak and the nabbing of the culprits have raised some questions about the effectiveness of its present system of conducting examinations.

Stating that a few questions would be addressed following the leak, the sources said the Syndicate was proposing to take some immediate steps. The steps to be taken would be decided on the arrival of the Vice-Chancellor, who is away.

``There are questions about the conduct of examinations and certainly we will take some major decisions,'' said Ajmal Khan, Syndicate member and chairman of Convenors' Committee. An emergency syndicate meeting would be convened shortly to take decisions, he informed while speaking to The Hindu .

Mr. Khan said the Syndicate would definitely recommend action against the principal of the Periyakulam college ``who is responsible for the conduct of the examinations.''

Another Syndicate member, G. Thiruvasagam, said either the college would be disaffiliated or it would no longer be an examination centre.

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