Maharashtra: At least 9 ways to cheat; paper leak courses

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INQUIRY into the multitude of misconduct in Maharashtra government examinations, which has seen a total of 44 arrests so far by Pune police, has revealed at least nine different methods used by suspects to tamper with the system of examination.

Some of the suspects told Pune police investigators about a nationwide racketeering ring involved in paper leaks across India and a training center that gives tutorials on paper leak methods. exam, The Indian Express has learned.

Since October last year, the Pune Police Cyber ​​Crime Unit has been investigating five linked cases in which five different Maharashtra government recruitment processes were compromised by a link between senior government officials, touts and actors. and private candidates.

These cases include those of paper leaks in two State Health Department examinations of Groups C and D, falsification of the assessment of documents in the two-year Teacher Eligibility Test (TET) of 2018 and 2019-20 and leaked paper for recruitment in Maharashtra Housing and Regional Development Authority (MHADA).

So far, these five cases have seen a total of 44 arrests, including senior officials, an IAS agent, several intermediaries, people from private entities hired for recruitment processes, owners of coaching courses . Assets worth over Rs 7 crore hoarded illegally by these suspects were also seized.

The coordinated action of five teams from the cybercrime cell resumed three weeks ago after a break due to several team agents testing positive for Covid-19.

Sources, who are part of the investigation, told The Indian Express that in the case of offline exams, the process is tampered with using various methods such as leaking the paper directly from the committee that lays down the paper or flight from the establishment where the paper is printed.

In some cases, marks are falsified when evaluating the exam paper of failed candidates, or the candidate is asked to leave the OMR (Optical Mark Recognition) sheet blank and is filled out by internal operators before be scanned by the OMR scanner for evaluation.

In the case of online exam methods, racketeers use various technical hacks to tamper with the system. In some cases, suspects gain access to the paper well in advance of the exam time by breaking into the code of the system where the paper is downloaded some time before the exam takes place. In some cases, the network exam center where the online exam takes place is infiltrated and the paper is viewed beforehand. In other cases, candidates used hidden devices.

In some cases, the private entities that organize the exam and the operators of the exam center collude and modify the answers given by the candidates after the exam. The ninth method, common to both online and offline processes, is that of a fictitious candidate presenting for an exam.

Investigations have further revealed startling details such as the existence of a nationwide network of people involved in paper leaks, including some of the suspects arrested by Pune police. Police have obtained details of a coaching center in a northern Indian state which gives tutorials on how to disclose exam papers. The cybercrime unit teams are now probing these new leads given by the suspects.

Sources told The Indian Express that several communications were sent by DCP (Cyber ​​Crime and Economic Offenses) office Bhagyashree Navatake and Police Commissioner Amitabh Gupta to the state government on exactly how the documents came to be. leaked and review processes tampered with. Some of these communications include detailed confidential reports on the modus operandi of the suspects and possible ways to end such abuses in the future.

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