The names of three daughters and a son of rebel Maharashtra Shiv Sena MLA Abdul Sattar appeared in the list of the 7,880 candidates who were disqualified and banned in connection with the alleged rigging of the Teachers' Eligibility Test (TET) 2019-20.
Sattar, a former minister in the then Maha Vikas Aghadi government, on Monday said he will seek an inquiry into how the names of his two daughters cropped up in the list though they had "failed" to clear it. He claimed his son never appeared for the exam but was evasive about his third daughter.
The Maharashtra State Council of Examinations last Wednesday said it had disqualified 7,880 candidates for their involvement in the manipulation and tampering of marks in the TET 2019.
While 7,500 of the 7,880 candidates allegedly tampered with the results in the exchange for money to show themselves "eligible" in the results of the final exam, 293 candidates secured forged/fake certificates projecting themselves as eligible candidates after the final results.
Sattar said his two daughters had appeared for the MAHA TET-2019 exam which was conducted on January 19, 2020.
"My two daughters (Heena Kausar Abdul Sattar Shaikh and Uzma Nahid Abdul Sattar Shaikh ) appeared for the TET exam held in January 2020. My son is pursuing an LLB. He didn't appear for the test. My two daughters did not clear the exam and thus were ineligible. We have certificates to show that they were ineligible. I will seek an inquiry into how their names appeared in the list," Sattar, the MLA from Sillod in the Aurangabad district, told PTI over the phone.
Apparently, Sattar's two daughters work in the education society belonging to him.
"As my daughters were ineligible (for the final TET), their salaries were stopped. Had they become eligible wouldn't they have taken the benefits in the education institute over the last four years (by claiming their salaries)?" Sattar asked.
Alleging a conspiracy against him, Sattar said a detailed inquiry will expose the people behind this "fake list".
Asked about his third daughter, whose name also appeared on the list, Sattar evaded a direct reply, saying this is a bogus case.
When asked whether all his three daughters had appeared for the exam, the MLA said his daughters are married. "They live separately and I cannot keep a tab on which exams she (the third daughter) appeared for".
Queried whether his daughters still work in the education institute, he said, "It is my education institute and if they choose to work without any remuneration, what should I do?" We have certificates stating that they are ineligible. I do not know how they became eligible. We saw their names in the list and after that, we sought probe".
Sattar shared the certificates of his two daughters showing they were "ineligible" for the exam.
The former minister questioned the timing of the list being published at a time when the state Cabinet expansion is around the corner.
The cyber cell of the Pune Police had earlier arrested more than 15 people, including Tukaram Supe, commissioner (now suspended) of MSCE, and Pritesh Deshmukh, director of G A Software, the firm responsible for conducting the exam, in the case.
Shailaja Darade, the commissioner of MSCE, had said a police investigation found that 7,880 candidates were involved in malpractices in the 2019-20 TET and based on the police report, all these candidates were disqualified and barred from appearing for the exam again.
Members of Uddhav Thackeray-led Shiv Sena faction demanded an inquiry to check the role of Sattar in the TET case.
"The then Chief Minister Shivajirao Patil Nilangekar had resigned from his post when a matter on similar lines came to light. But now people like Sattar are lobbying for big portfolios. Maharashtra Chief Minister (Eknath Shinde) is encouraging people like Sattar," Shiv Sena MLC Ambadas Danve alleged.
"This is a serious issue and the role of Abdul Sattar should be checked in the TET scam," he told PTI in Aurangabad.
Chandrakant Khaire, a former Aurangabad MP and the Thackeray loyalist said if Sattar is not guilty then he should remain silent.
"Sattar is our old friend. The government should conduct an inquiry into this case and dig out the truth" he told reporters.
Taking a dig, senior Congress leader Prithviraj Chavan said Sattar could perhaps be made the state's education minister.
Chavan said Sattar could perhaps be made the education minister in the new cabinet.
"When there is such instability in the government, no one has time to take cognisance of such scams. Other issues are kept on the back burner and the focus is on who is going to be a minister and what portfolio he will get," Chavan told reporters as he slammed the Shinde-Fadnavis government.
The former chief minister said the tradition of good administration is coming to end in Maharashtra.