Marks racket: Jr clerk held

The Cantonment police have arrested a junior clerk with the Poona College who they said used his connections in the Examination Department of the University of Pune to pass failed students. Identified as Salim Majid Shaikh (42), the clerk was arrested on Sunday.

The police said Shaikh used to run the racket with Gaus Shabbir Shaikh, a Std VII dropout and garage worker from Camp who was arrested on October 8 by the Social Security Cell and Cantonment police for sending bright students to write examinations in place of others in some reputable colleges in the city.

The wrong lesson: The Poona College, where Salim Shaikh works as a junior clerk. The police said he used his connections in the Examination Department of the University of Pune to pass failed students. File Pic

“After Gaus was arrested last week, his custody was given to us and during the interrogation, he confessed all and revealed that apart from running the ‘ghost-writing’ racket, he also ran another racket in which he used to give the roll numbers of some failed students to Salim Majid Shaikh, who would use his links in the Examination Department of the University of Pune to ensure students were passed in the subjects they had failed,” Police Inspector (crime) Nitin Jadhav of the Cantonment police station said.

The Oct 11 MiD DAY report on an exam ghost-writing racket that was busted. The police said the kingpin in that case led them to Salim Shaikh

Jadhav said Gaus, who was infamous on the college premises, approached some students who had failed their subjects in BCom, BBA and other streams and assured them that if they gave him Rs 15,000 to Rs 20,000 per subject he would clear their papers in the revaluation process.

“We have recovered 16 photocopies of hall tickets of failed students from Salim Majid Shaikh and all the hall tickets were given to him by Gaus to pass the students in the failed subjects,” Jadhav said.

The officer said that after assuring the students they would be clearing their failed subjects, Gaus used to direct them to fill revaluation forms, after which he used to hand over their roll numbers to Salim Majid Shaikh.

Jadhav said Salim Majid Shaikh had once worked with the Examination Department in Poona College and during that period he had made good contacts with some staffers of the UoP Examination Department.

Salim Majid Shaikh used to hand over the roll numbers to his “approach person” in the university Examination Department and the students’ marks would then be increased.

“After the arrest of Salim Majid Shaikh, we are now trying to close in on the people who are operating this racket from the Examination Department and have approached the Controller of Examination in the University of Pune, Sampada Joshi, and narrated the entire episode,” Jadhav said.

UoP initiates inquiry
The University of Pune has taken serious cognizance of the matter and initiated an inquiry. The Vice-Chancellor has set up an independent committee, which is conducting the inquiry in the case.

Jadhav said the police had asked authorities at the university to investigate the matter by checking the papers of the students who had approached Gaus and to see whether their marks had been inflated or not.

“We have set up a fact-finding committee, which will conduct an independent inquiry and soon submit its report,” Controller of Examination Joshi said. “And if somebody from the Examination Department or from any other college is found to be involved in the racket, he or she will not be spared.”

She said the Examination Department of the university would fully cooperate with police. Poona College Principal Dr G M Nazaruddin said: “Shaikh is a junior clerk with Poona College and a year ago he used to work in our Examination Department. After the incident came to light, we too have started our own inquiry.” 

Past univ scandals
The University of Pune was in the news last year when two staffers were arrested for their alleged involvement in issuing forged mark-sheets to Irani students. In another case, two staffers, including a deputy registrar, were served show-cause notices last month for allegedly changing the entries in the mark-sheet of a student. 

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