Plain answer sheets and the college seal was found in the house of the main accused in the Thiruvananthapuram University College case. Found during a raid on the accused’s house, they are suspected to have been used by the student to cheat during his exams.
Sivaranjith, the SFI unit president of University College in Thiruvananthapuram is the main accused and the one who stabbed a third-year student in his chest during a scuffle on Friday. The police arrested him along with five other SFI committee members of the college on Monday.
Ironically, Sivaranjith passed the Police Constable (Armed Police Battalion) exam conducted by the Kerala Public Service Commission (KPSC) with flying colours. In fact he secured 92% marks and topped the ranklist of Kasargod district. However, police now believe that he cheated in all his university exams by forcing teachers to accept his pre-written papers and may have cheated in the KPSC exam too..
Sixteen bundles of the Kerala University’s answer sheets (some blank, others semi-filled) and the Physical Education Director’s seal were recovered from two rooms of his house in Thiruvananthapuram by the police.
“There were a total of 16 bundles which we recovered from his house in Attukal. Each bundle had 11 papers and 22 sides. About 5 of these bundles had answers written on them. Answer sheets with dates 2016, 2017 and 2018 were recovered and we suspect that he has been cheating in all his university exams,” Circle Inspector Anil Kumar told TNM.
“It is highly likely that he was threatening professors to accept the papers and would slip in his pre-written papers along with the rest of the answer sheets. Or, he would force other students to write the answers for him,” the policeman further said.
Storm in a teacup
The seizure of answer sheets has resulted in many, including opposition party leader, questioning the sanctity of the exams conducted by the Kerala University and the KPSC.
Not just Sivaranjith, but two other SFI members accused of stabbing Akhil, have cleared the KPSC held exams.
Advocate MK Sakeer, the state PSC chairman said that an internal vigilance team of the commission will probe into the matter and that their decision on appointment of the three accused candidates will be kept in abeyance until further orders from the Government of Kerala.
“Featuring in the rank list does not confirm the appointment of the candidate. Normally, a letter is sent to the government regarding the rank holders and it is the government that enquires into the background of the candidate till the very last detail including the date of both,” said MK Sakeer, who added that it is based on the verification report, that the commission admits or cancels the applicant from rank list.
Reacting to allegations that the Commission does not do a background check of the candidates before publishing the rank list, the PSC chairman stated that as per the rules, the PSC in the initial stages will only look into the age of the applicant, the educational qualification of the applicant, the evaluation of the paper and the declaration of the results. “If there are any malpractices during the exam, like copying from next person or bringing gadgets into the exam hall, the commission will form an enquiry into the applicant including all the documents he has submitted,” he said.
With the case, Sivaranjith will be stripped off his rank in the state police test. A separate case against him will be taken for copying and cheating and a new probe will be launched.
Sivaranjith and Nazeem, another accused, were booked in a case last December for assaulting traffic police officers in Palayam.
Several students have accused the SFI committee of University College of bullying and running a fascist regime in college.
On Friday, a scuffle between Akhil, a third-year student and SFI member of the college with the committee members over singing inside the campus led to him being stabbed in his chest. Akhil was admitted to the Thiruvananthapuram Medical College Hospital, where the doctors operated on him to contain internal bleeding.
A total of 30 names have been recorded in the FIR by the Cantonment police. This includes six accused who are members of the SFI committee in the college. The others were from outside and identified by sight by Akhil’s friend and classmate, Ubair. The accused have been booked under nine sections, including attempt to murder.