Amid demand for cancellation of a recruitment exam held recently in Gujarat, the state government on Thursday announced formation of a four-member SIT under a senior bureaucrat to probe alleged irregularities, including mass-copying and paper leak. Hundreds of job aspirants, who had appeared for the written test conducted by the Gujarat Subordinate Service Selection Board (GSSSB) on November 17, held a protest in Gandhinagar seeking cancellation of the exam held for recruiting 3,910 non-secretariat clerks and office assistants.
As the protest, which was launched following complaints of copying and cheating during the exam, continued for the second day on Thursday, the government decided to discuss the issue with the protesters. After holding talks with some representatives of the agitators, Minister of State For Home, Pradeepsinh Jadeja, announced in the evening that as demanded by them, the government has set up a Special Investigation Team (SIT), which will probe the alleged irregularities and complete its probe within 10 days.
While a section of candidates accepted the government’s move to form the SIT, several others are adamant on their demand for cancellation of the exam. The SIT will be headed by IAS officer Kamal Dayani, who serves as the Principal Secretary in the General Administration Department (GAD). IPS officers Manoj Shashidhar and Mayanksinh Chavda and additional secretary in GAD, Jwalant Trivedi, are the other three members of the team. While Shashidhar is the Additional DGP in the state CID-Intelligence, Chavda is the Inspector General of Gandhinagar Range.
“As demanded by the candidates, the SIT will finish its probe within 10 days and submit its report to the government. The inquiry panel would probe allegations of paper-leak, mass-copying or any other irregularities during the exam. We will not declare the result of the exam until the SIT submits its report,” Jadeja told reporters. He added that no one from the GSSSB, which conducted the exam, is part of the SIT.
Aggrieved candidates have been alleging that although copying occurred at several centres during the exam, the BJP government was turning a blind eye to protect those candidates who were linked to the party.
NCP leader Shankersinh Vaghela and Gujarat Congress president Amit Chavda met the protesters in Gandhinagar on Thursday morning and extended their support. Chief Minister Vijay Rupani said the government will “do everything possible to ensure justice to the hard-working candidates” and also assured that action will be taken after an inquiry.
“My government is committed to take action following an inquiry into the allegations of mass-copying and paper leak. We are committed to make sure that wrong people do not get jobs. We will do everything possible to ensure justice to the hard-working candidates. I am confident that the issue will be resolved through dialogue,” he said in Anand town earlier in the day.
Jadeja had earlier refuted opposition Congress’s claim of large-scale irregularities, saying that the Board had received only 39 written complaints of cheating. Over 10 lakh candidates had applied for the exam, while over 6 lakh appeared for it.
The demand to cancel the exam gained momentum after the Congress last week released CCTV footages of two different exam centres in Wadhwan town of Surendranagar district to prove its claim that copying and cheating occurred at several places during the exam. In one video clip, a candidate can be seen copying from a chit, which he apparently acquired when he was outside the exam hall for over 30 minutes, while in another video, a candidate can be seen checking his mobile phone, which is prohibited.