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IIM-A brass shocked, candidates cry foul

November 24, 2003 09:36 IST

The concluding day of the international B-school meet at the Indian Institute of Management-Ahmedabad campus couldn't have been sadder.

All those who gathered for Confluence-2003, including students from other IIMs, felt very much let down.

The reason was not the end of the colourful fest, but the leak of the Common Admission Test papers and the following developments.

There is another reason that has brought much despair among the brass of IIM-A, including its director and dean, this year.

It was IIM-A that was responsible for having a final look on the CAT question paper and sending it to a printing press in Mumbai, which was now being doubted as the point of leak of the question paper.

Meanwhile, it has been learnt that Vijay Cherian, the chairman of the IIM-A admissions committee and also a member of the CAT Group, has already left for Mumbai, while a Central Bureau of Investigation team is expected to land up in Ahmedabad on Monday for further investigation in the case.

"Although the question paper for CAT is finalised by a group of people from all six IIMs across the country, IIM-A plays a vital role in the whole process and this year we were responsible for sending it for printing and we doubt it might have leaked from somewhere in this process and the printing press is one of our strong suspicion points,"Indira Parikh, Dean of IIM-A told Business Standard on Sunday night.

"As because already an investigation agency has initiated probe into the matter, I will not comment further but we all are feeling let down because of this development as it has definitely shaken the confidence among the students who appeared in the examination this morning and we have to work together to help them regain confidence about this examination process which so far remained sacrosanct," Parikh said.

A visibly upset Parikh, said, "In the history of CAT such thing never happened and though a re-examination is well-justified, we need to be more cautious in the whole process."

Director of IIM-A, Bakul Dholakia, said, "We are not sure yet about where these questions papers leaked from but definitely there are doubts on the place where these were sent for printing, but for confirmation of this, we will need to wait till end of the CBI investigation. This is unprecedented and should not have happened."

A senior member of the Ahmedabad Management Association, said, "More than 100,000 students appeared for 250 seats at IIM-A and today they are feeling let down because of some people who want to mint money by hook or crook."

Shomindra Chakroborty, a candidate for IIM-A who appeared in the examination on Sunday, said, "I prepared for this examinations for more than a year, sacrificing all other activities and it was good examination for me today. Now with the government decision of a fresh round of examination because of the leaks of questions, I need to take another round of examinations which may not be as good as today's paper."

Earlier in the day, a CBI team arrested four persons -- including three doctors from Bihar for allegedly leaking question papers of the CAT for IIM.

They were arrested from Shanti Palace hotel in Mahipalpur, southwest Delhi, while they were giving the papers to four candidates, said a CBI official.

"Though we are yet to be in the final stage of this case investigation, but it seems these people may have managed to get the questions papers from some connection they have with printers or couriers which will be clear during the final course of investigation which may take up to one month's time from now. The arrested persons are being grilled while we have got few more names who are involved in this scam and we may need to send a team to Ahmedabad and Mumbai for further investigation," added the CBI official, requesting anonymity.

The exams were cancelled following the arrests. The decision was taken after Union human resource development ministry contacted authorities at IIM, Ahmedabad, the coordinating body for the tests, which confirmed that the leaked papers matched the original.

Reacting on the development, a student of IIM-A, who preferred anonymity, said, "My cousin sister appeared in CAT from Delhi and she is shocked now as after taking preparations for over a year investing lots of money for books and reference materials along with energy, she appeared in CAT to get admission in IIM but when she got to know about leaks of questions, she sounded frustrated. She never wants to appear in this examination as this incident has made her doubtful about the examination process."

A student from IIM-Calcutta, who has come here to attend Confluence, said, "Highest punishment should be ensured for the culprits as they have broken hopes of thousands of people. Before this development on Sunday, we used to consider CAT examination process is fool-proof and none can get an admission if he or she does not deserve, but now it seems money can buy everything."

Joydeep Ray in Ahmedabad