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NET answer-sheet scam: CBI files FIR, fate of 7.94 lakh aspirants hangs in balance

The Fate Of 7.94 Lakh Aspirants, Who Appeared In The National Eligibility Test (NET) This Year, Seemed To Be Hanging In The Balance As The Private Firm Which Was Given Contract To Scan The Answer-sheets Had Not Been Able To Complete The Work, Prompting The CBI To File An FIR Against It.

PTI | Updated on: 26 May 2017, 10:42:33 PM
A file photo of the CBI headquarters.

New Delhi:

The fate of 7.94 lakh aspirants, who appeared in the National Eligibility Test (NET) this year, seemed to be hanging in the balance as the private firm which was given contract to scan the answer-sheets had not been able to complete the work, prompting the CBI to file an FIR against it. 

In its FIR, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has named director (IT) of the CBSE Antriksh Johri, Kapil Soorma, the representative of Venus Digital Service, and Venus Digital Service, besides some other unidentified officials of the CBSE, agency sources said.

The Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) conducted NET, a qualifying exam for recruitment of college and university teachers and for award of Junior Research Fellowship, on January 22 at total 500 centres across the country.

A team of CBI officials visited the CBSE headquarter on Friday to collect some documents on Thursday, the sources said.

The contract to scan answer-sheets of students at some of the examination centres was given to Venus Digital Service.

It is alleged that the company could not complete scanning the OMR answer-sheets of 412 centres alloted to it as on May 23, the CBI FIR mentions.

When contacted, Johri denied the allegations and said people who were not happy with his work to strengthen the system were levelling such false allegations against him.

The agency has alleged that the work order was given without any tender at arbitrary rate of Rs 25,000 per centre. It is alleged in the FIR that the work order to the tune of Rs 1.03 crore covering 412 centres in 18 cities was given to the company despite it being on record of the CBSE that the firm did not exist at its Karol Bagh address.

For the remaining centres of 72 cities, the OMR sheets were to be brought to CBSE Delhi and then scanned, it alleged.

"It is further alleged that the work order was issued by Deputy Secretary UGC (NET) on the instructions of Dr Johri despite objections by the Deputy Secretary UGC (NET) and Director UGC (NET)," the FIR mentioned.

Johri claimed that the work order was issued by the Director UGC (NET), and not him.

Johri said he, being the Director (IT), was only there to execute the work cleared by other units.

"I don't have administrative power to issue work orders and all the decisions are taken by the competent authority, i.e. the Director UGC (NET) and the Chairman of the CBSE," Johri said.

If the Director UGC (NET) was opposed to the decision, why did he issue the work order? he asked.

It is further alleged in the CBI FIR that Venus Digital was not able to carry out scanning at all the 412 centres earlier intimated by them for which the work order was issued.

This has resulted in much of the OMR sheets as on date not being scanned, it alleged. "The information reveals that Johri, in connivance with the firm and its representative Kapil Soorma and other unknown officers of the CBSE in view to cause undue favour to the firm, did the above acts of commission and omission," it said.

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First Published : 26 May 2017, 10:34:00 PM