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Decoded: The SSC exam protests that are now the subject of a CBI probe

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A probe by the Central Bureau of Investigation has been ordered into a government recruitment examination after a week-long protest in the capital. 

New Delhi: After protests for over a week, the central government ordered an investigation by the CBI into alleged cheating in the Staff Selection Commission (SSC) examinations. However, despite the probe being ordered candidates from different parts of the country continue to protest outside the SSC office in Delhi.

The Supreme Court is scheduled to hear a plea seeking a CBI investigation on 12 March.

What led to this protest?

The SSC is a government body which conducts a Combined Graduate Level Examination (CGL) to fill Group B and Group C staff vacancies in various ministries and departments of the central government.

On 17 February, the SSC had to cancel the exam at a Delhi centre after cases of mass cheating were reported. Chits with answers to questions were allegedly found in the washroom at the centre.

A release from a body representing the protesting candidates has said that the question paper and an answer key were leaked on social media before exams that were conducted from 17 February to 22 February. Among those who demanded a CBI probe and supported the demand of the students include Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, and activist Anna Hazare.

This isn’t the first case of cheating to be reported in the case of the SSC. In 2013, an Income Tax inspector, Delhi Police sub-inspector and 11 others were arrested after a CBI investigation for allegedly tampering the SSC tier II examination in Delhi.

Who’s to blame?

Candidates allege the leaks started since the examination process was made available online. They say the software used to conduct the examination is provided by an unaudited third-party private vendor.

The candidates say that that an audit of the software vendor needs to be conducted by an unbiased authority. But despite this not being done the SSC has continued to conduct the exams.

However, a senior SSC official told ThePrint that the vendor picked is only one of three that has the required certification and that its quality and competence were not in doubt. The official said the SSC had gone to the National Technical Research Organisation (NTRO) in 2016 seeking an audit, but was turned away.

“We don’t have the power or staff to audit the private vendor, also the contract ends in 2 months. So we are waiting for the CBI’s investigations and recommendations to see what steps should be taken from next time,” said the official, on condition of anonymity .

The SSC official said it doesn’t have the staff to monitor all centres where the examination is conducted and outsources the job.

“We make sure that no electronic devices are there inside the examination hall. However, some miscreants come with devices hidden inside their skin. Candidates stick someone else’s skin on their fingers to fake fingerprints. With these extreme cheating measures, one shouldn’t blame the commission’s measures,” the official said.

The SSC has also hinted at the involvement of external agencies in furthering the protests and said coaching classes would benefit from the examinations being cancelled.

“A comprehensive investigation into the matter would also expose the conduct of external agencies, which have been actively instigating and nurturing the agitation to the detriment of career of thousands of bona fide candidates,” Ashim Khurana, Chairman of the SSC, said in a statement Tuesday.

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  1. It is very shameful think that electronic media is not covering the protest of ssc aspirants in Delhi. It is the duty of media to disclose such scams to public. It seem that media is already sold to some unscrupulous elements of our country. . Shame on democracy, which provides equal opportunities/rights to all citizens, but here everything can be purchased by the mighty. At least our PM should wake up, as he always reiterates the transparency.

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