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CBI to investigate irregularities in 2016 Manipur civil service examinations

The Manipur High Court had in October 2019 quashed the Manipur civil service examination after several aspirants approached it alleging irregularities in the selection process.

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New Delhi: The CBI has registered a case to probe alleged irregularities in the conduct of the civil services examination (mains), 2016 organised by the Manipur Public Service Commission (MPSC), officials said on Monday.

The agency has registered the case against unidentified officials of the commission on the orders of the Manipur High Court, they added.

The Manipur Civil Services Combined Competitive Examination (CSCCE), 2016 had selected 82 officers of the Manipur Civil Service, Manipur Police Service and allied services whose services were quashed following the high court orders.

The high court had, in October last year, quashed the examination after several aspirants approached it alleging irregularities in the selection process and also ordered a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) probe into the matter.

It had then instituted a two-member panel to probe the matter, which revealed “irregularities and discrepancies”, including absence of examiners’ signatures on answer scripts, manipulation of marks and allotment of marks without evaluation of answer scripts.

“The MPSC appears to have taken the examination very lightly, like a child’s play, completely forgetting that it would decide and determine the career of a candidate,” it had said while handing over the investigation to the CBI.

In November last year, the order was upheld by the Supreme Court, which told the agency to conduct a time-bound investigation.

The panel looking into the alleged irregularities had found serious lapses such as alteration of the numbers scored, non-appointment of a Controller of Examination (CoE), absence of a procedure for evaluation and tabulation of answer sheets, among others, the officials said.

In its order directing the CBI to take over the probe, the high court had noted that out of 8,163 answer sheets, the examiners did not put their signatures in respect of seven papers or subjects, while in 15 papers, the supervisors did not put their signatures.

Taking note of the non-appointment of a CoE, the high court had said the rules stated that the appointment was “implicit and indispensable” and the official’s presence was required for codification of answer sheets as he shall be responsible for their safe custody and secrecy.

The provisions made it clear that the CoE and the Secretary, MPSC shall be two different persons, it had said. In the case, the Secretary, MPSC had allegedly assumed the role of the CoE as well.

“…the non-appointment of the CoE has defeated the very purpose of the examination to be conducted by the MPSC…Consequently, the examination to be conducted in a fair manner by it has been thrown in the wind,” the high court had said.

It had noted that although rules were framed in 2011, it was not clear what prevented the appointment of a CoE.

It had said the non-appointment of the CoE appeared to be a means by which the MPSC staff could take the opportunity of indulging in manipulation, malpractices, unfair means etc.

The high court had also said the Secretary, MPSC went out of station from September 15, 2016 to September 24, 2016, taking answer sheets outside the state for evaluation.

“If that be so, the corollary issue that arises for consideration is as to whether the examination was conducted in the absence of the secretary-cum-CoE,” it had said.

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