Some of the candidates, who appeared for the Madhya Pradesh Teacher Eligibility Test, and police constable recruitment exam staged a protest in front of the head office of the staff selection board, earlier known as Vyapam, in Bhopal on Monday alleging irregularities in the two exams, a charge denied by government officials.
A section of aspirants who wrote the Teacher Eligibility Test demanded that online TET be cancelled after a purported screenshot of the question-cum-answersheet went viral on social media, while the other set of protesting candidates sought a probe into the cops recruitment test alleging malpractice.
Home minister and state government spokesman Narottam Mishra claimed the screenshot of the TET paper which has gone viral was forged and called it a conspiracy to malign the image of a senior bureaucrat, who is an aide of Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan.
However, if a police complaint is received it will be probed, Mishra said.
The protesters held placards with the message 'Cancel MP-TET 2022' and demanded a probe into the just held online constable recruitment test. They also petitioned officials seeking action.
The gates of the building housing Vyavsayik Pareeksha Mandal, whose name was recently changed to Madhya Pradesh Karmachari Chayan Aayog (staff selection board), were closed to ensure the protesters do not storm into the campus, eyewitnesses said.
Vyapam had got embroiled in a controversy due to alleged rigging of exams for medical college admissions and government jobs spanning several years. This was for the second time that the state government had renamed the exam conducting body.
“A complaint has come to us. We are going to look into it. So far no wrongdoing has come to the fore," an official of the Staff Selection Board associated with conducting recruitment tests said on condition of anonymity.
“I wrote the TET on March 25 online and saw the screenshot of the paper (of someone else) doing rounds on social media in the evening. How come the paper found its way on social media? We wrote the test in different examination centres spread across the state by ticking answers (on question paper itself). No camera or mobile phone was allowed inside examination centres," a candidate who appeared in the test told PTI.
Another protester said that on March 24 morning the Board's website showed her as qualified in the constable recruitment exam. However, the same evening, it showed her disqualified, she claimed.
The protesters demanded a probe into alleged malpractice in the constable recruitment test conducted last month.
Home Minister Mishra said the screenshot of the TET paper was forged and termed it as a conspiracy aimed at maligning the image of an officer on special duty of the chief minister.
“The OSD is a member of the tribal community and an able and upright officer,” Mishra told reporters in Bhopal.
An FIR has already been lodged against a Congress leader in this regard, he said.
The OSD, Laxman Singh Markam, on Sunday lodged a police complaint against MP Congress chief spokesman KK Mishra and Vyapam scam whistleblower Dr Anand Rai alleging they have maligned his image on social media in context of the TET row.
However, Congress leader Mishra claimed he has done no wrong.
“A police case has been filed against me alleging atrocity (on a tribal), which I have not committed," KK Mishra said.
He said he won't get deterred by such police cases. "I will continue my crusade against corruption," the state Congress chief spokesman asserted.
The scam in Vyapam (later rechristened Madhya Pradesh Professional Examination Board) came to light in 2011.
The CBI had taken over investigation into the mega recruitment and admission scandal after a Supreme Court order in 2015.