Karnataka Home Minister Araga Jnanendra on Friday said the State government has decided to cancel the alleged scam-tainted examination that was held to recruit 545 police sub-inspectors in the State and hold re-exams, while announcing the arrest of the main accused and other suspects in Pune.
Assuring a fair probe and strict punishment to those involved in the alleged scam, he said the government is also thinking of bringing stricter laws to control such malpractices.
”The main accused in the police recruitment exam scam Divya Hagaragi, along with the others, including Saddam (driver), Suresh and Kalidas (assistants) and Sunanda (worker), have been taken into custody in Pune. They are being inquired and brought to Karnataka,” Jnanendra said.
Speaking to reporters here, he said it is clear that malpractices have taken place at several centres, even in Bengaluru. In this backdrop after discussions, the government decided to cancel the exams and hold re-exams, he said.
”Excluding the accused who had taken the exam, the others out of the total 54,289 people who had appeared for the exam will be given an opportunity to take the re-exam,” he added.
The Criminal Investigation Department (CID) of the Karnataka police, probing into the case, has brought Divya Hagaragi, who was said to be associated with the BJP, to Kalaburagi.
Hagaragi was allegedly involved in rigging the recruitment and a written examination was held in October last. Following allegations of irregularities in the test, the government ordered the CID probe.
The alleged irregularities are said to have taken place at Jnana Jyothi English Medium School in Kalaburagi run by Hagaragi, who along with her associates, were at large for the past 18 days after the scam came to light.
Political slugfest also broke out between the ruling BJP and opposition Congress over the delay in Hagaragi’s arrest and her alleged links with senior political leaders, also CID issuing a notice to Congress MLA and former Minister Priyank Kharge to appear with evidence to aid the ongoing investigation into the scam.
Stating that jobs for money cannot continue, the Home Minister said such malpractices are taking place in exams for recruitment and it is distressing.
”The government is thinking about bringing stricter laws aimed at protecting the interest of those who genuinely prepare and appear for exams, and to punish those who indulge in malpractices,” he added.
The Minister, in response to a question, said there were too many exam centres, which would be reduced, and re-exams held at bigger centres where jammers and new technologies could be used to stop malpractices.
”…Bluetooth was also used (for malpractice), they will all be thoroughly inquired into,” he said, adding that thinking is on to change all the exam centres, where the exams were held last time.
Asserting that no one involved in the scam would be spared, be they officers or politicians or businessmen or influential people, he said they would be brought to justice and the truth revealed to the public. ”A fair and transparent probe will happen and no one will interfere in the investigation process,” he said.
Appealing to candidates not to lose hope and appear for the re-exams with confidence, Jnanendra said, ”All measures will be taken to transparently hold the exams, and we are gathering details about how UPSC exams are conducted and won’t let negative forces disrupt the exam process.”