In June 2012, two faculty members had given in writing that they were pressured by some top university officials to award higher marks to certain students during revaluation. However, the accused in that case, who were initially suspended from service, had subsequently gone scot-free due to lack of conclusive evidence. In the latest instance, the First Information Report said in April/May 2017, Dr. Uma, presently Professor, Department of Information Science and Technology, Anna University, conspired with Dr. P. Vijayakumar, Assistant Professor/Dean (in-charge), University College of Engineering, Tindivanam, and Dr. R. Sivakumar, Assistant Professor, University College of Engineering, Tindivanam, and demanded Rs. 10,000 from each student to boost marks during the revaluation process.
The suspects allegedly forged answer scripts by altering the marks to benefit the students who paid bribes. The accused persons “destroyed a maximum number of the answer scripts of the students for whom they awarded enhanced marks/pass marks in the revaluation done during August 2017 at Tindivanam and thereby caused disappearance of evidence relating to the criminal offence committed by them.”
Preliminary investigation revealed that of the 3,02,380 students who applied for revaluation, 73,733 passed and as many as 16,636 got enhanced marks. Dr. Uma served as Controller of Examinations of Anna University during 2015-18. Dr. Vijayakumar and Dr. Sivakumar were zonal coordinators for the valuation centre at Tindivanam. The remaining accused — R. Sundarajan, M. Mahesh Babu, N. Anbuselvan, C.N. Pratheeba, I. Pragadheeswarar, M. Rameshkannan and S. Ramesh — were professors/lecturers during the same period.
“We suspect that several thousands of engineering students paid bribes to boost their scores. Many of them would have graduated as engineers from Anna University. During searches, we seized copies of answer scripts and documents of immovable assets from the residential and office premises of Dr. Uma and others. The accused have been booked under the provisions of the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988, and also on charges of conspiracy, cheating, forgery and criminal misconduct,” a senior DVAC officer told
According to the DVAC, the accused destroyed a large number of answer scripts in a bid to eliminate evidence. However, dozens of answer scripts that were seized clearly revealed the nature of the offence. “If, during the first revaluation, a student gets marks which are 15% more than the original score, the answer script is referred to a third examiner…It is here that the offence took place. Higher marks were awarded to students by forging the answer scripts that were destroyed. Teachers who refused to cooperate and insisted on awarding actual marks were debarred from the process of valuation,” the officer said.
When investigators conducted a check by referring some seized answer scripts to independent examiners, it was found that the marks awarded were disproportionately high.
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