The four University of Pune (UoP) officials arrested on Saturday for their alleged involvement in re-evaluation malpractices at the examination department conspired with the three UoP junior clerks arrested earlier, said the police in court while seeking custody of the accused yesterday.
Chatushringi police had arrested seven people — Rajendra Manohar Pandit (52), assistant registrar, Lalsingh Wasave (58), deputy registrar, Surendra Naidu (53), and Nanda Pawar (52), senior clerk, and three students — on Saturday evening. The court yesterday remanded all the suspects to police custody till January 15. Interestingly, Pandit is a member of the fact-finding committee constituted by the varsity to investigate the re-evaluation scam.
Earlier, the Chatushringi police had arrested three UoP junior clerks — Ramesh Kisan Shelar (43), Ashok Shankarrao Ranwade (44) and Chetan Gajanan Parbhane (38) — on January 8.
While seeking police custody of the 10 suspects, Mahesh Bolkotgi of Chatushringi police station told the court that they received information that the three junior clerks had received money to increase the marks at a particular hotel.
“At present the three clerks are not cooperating with us. Hence, there is a need to take them into confidence and investigate which hotel the monetary transaction took place,” said Bolkotgi. He added that it is impossible that the students’ marks were increased without the role of these four officials. “The exact role of these officials needs to be probed, and hence police custody is needed,” said Bolkotgi.
The Omani students who have been arrested have been identified as Alamri Sami Hamud (22), Obed Ahmed Rehman (29), both residents of Kondhwa. The third student is Mohsin Shaikh (19) of Mangalwar Peth.
Bolkotgi said that students arrests prove that some international students, with the help of people like Gaus Shaikh and Sameer Shaikh who were arrested in October by the Cantonment police station for their role in the dummy students and re-valuation scam, increase their marks by paying money.
“It is necessary to investigate from whom these three students got their job done by paying money,” said Bolkotgi. He also told the court that the police have seized the hard disks of the computers of these suspects and hope to get vital clues from the recovered items.
While opposing the police custody for the four UoP officials, the defence lawyer said that his clients were only signatory authority, and had no idea about such a scam.
He said that accused Pandit and Wasave have to sign thousands of mark sheets, and it is very difficult for them to scrutinise the marks.
UoP taking it easy
With the reputation of the UoP is taking a beating in the cash-for-marks scam, it seems varsity officials are now dragging its feet on suspending the four arrested university officials. While the rule indicates that all four UoP employees should be suspended, as they are facing criminal charges, the administration is taking its time on taking a decision. “We have not suspended anyone yet. Since Monday is public holiday, the course of action will be decided on Tuesday only,” said Dr D D Dhavle, officiating registrar of the UoP. As an administrative head of the varsity, the registrar has the authority to take a decision to suspend. A senior UoP official, on condition of anonymity, said, “The law indicates that if the officials of the said organisation are facing criminal charges and are in police custody for more than 48 hours, the institute has to suspend the officials.”
— Niranjan Medhekar