By Arun Pratap Singh
Dehradun, 1 May: So far, one had only heard of rigging the competitive exams conducted for recruitments on various government jobs. However, now, Uttarakhand STF has exposed one gang which had been rigging the privately conducted IELTS (International English Language Testing) examination, which in some countries is considered essential for students interested in studies and employment abroad.. This gang has been found to have been tampering with the OMR (Optical Mark Recognition) sheets related to this examination.
It is believed that this is an international racket. In this international level fraud, STF has arrested three accused including one Ludhiana (Punjab) resident, who is believed to be the mastermind of this racket. It appears that those involved in the rigging of the OMR sheets are associated with certain people running IELT coaching centres
After this information was revealed, the STF is now also investigating IELTS coaching centres. Apart from Sahil, S/o Satish Kumar from Ludhiyana, an employee of an international courier companyShabbir Khan S/o Sujat Ali, resident of district Purnia (Bihar) and a truck driver Jitendra S/o Jairam of Hardoi, Uttar Pradesh, have also been arrested. According to the investigation held so far, this gang has been able to “help” at least 70 to 80 candidates to clear the examination. Out these candidates, 15 candidates have been identified as candidates from Uttarakhand, Haryana and Punjab. The STF now believes that this gang of Punjab, which has been active since 2021, might have its presence on a large scale in several states of the country. Investigation in this respect have begun, claim the sources in the STF. According to the STF, Ludhiana resident copying mastermind Sahil used to collect Rs 3 lakhs from each candidate and then used to tamper the OMR Sheets of the examinations to ehlp them clear the exam. This was done also on 25 February 2023, when a vehicle of a multinational courier company was going from Dehradun examination centre to Gurgaon office carrying the answer sheets was intercepted as soon as it crossed the forest of Mohand. The gang used to park the vehicles somewhere in a deserted Mohand forest area where answer sheets were unsealed and replaced and tampered with by using the pencil and erasers. The seals were broken carefully to make it appear that they had not been tampered with. On 25 February, Sahil was doing just the same thing and had kept the consignment box containing the OMR sheets in his car. After the tempering with the OMR sheets, they were carefully sealed again and packed again and put back in the same truck before reaching the Gurgaon centre.
According to STF, Sahil’s son Satish Kumar, age 26 years was intercepted and arrested. During the interrogation, Sahil claimed that his brother in lawSaminder was behind the game plan. Saminder’s driver Jitendra and Shabbir Khan had discussed about the tampering of the OMR sheets. As a result, on 25 February, he (Sahil) contacted the driver of the vehicle, Jitendra, and asked him to stop the truck near Mohand, and taking his candidates along with him, took out the examination suitcase from the vehicle and handed the copies to the candidates who corrected their mistakes using pencils and erasers and then the answer sheets were again sealed and packed exactly in the same manner as they had been originally sealed and packed. Some answer sheets of candidates who did not come themselves were also changed with the help of the candidates present there. After that, again those copies were again put back in the Blue Dart vehicle. For this work, Shabbir Khan of Blue Dart used to charge Rs 50,000 while the driver of the truck used to charge Rs 3 lakhs.
It may be reminded here that in the OMR based competitive exams, pencils and erasers are used which can easily be manipulated. It was further revealed that Saminder has good contacts with those who run IELTS coaching centres who used to make the candidates available and the coaching centres charged Rs 2 to 3 lakhs rupees from each child and shared the money with the gang.
It may be recalled that International English Language Testing System (IELTS) examis an English language test, required to be cleared by the students going to study abroad particularly in English speaking countries. This is also essential to clear the exam for many persons wishing to settle in those countries. This exam is held 4 times in every month and 48 times in a year on different dates and a certificate is given on passing this exam, which is valid for 2 years. At present IDP company) is conducting this exam all over India. IDP has given the responsibility of conducting IELTS exam to be held in Dehradun to Planet company and contract to deliver OMR sheet safely to their office in Gurgaon to Blue Dart Courier Company.
Those arrested in the case so far are Sahil, S/o Satish Kumar and resident of Ludhiyana in Punjab, Jitendra,S/o Jairam fromHardoi in Uttar Pradesh and Shabbir Khan S/o Sujat Ali R/o Village Doria Thana Amor District Purnia, Bihar.