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Explained: All You Need to Know About Karnataka's PSI Recruitment Scam

The Karnataka CID has booked 30 people and is looking into the different ways by which the PSI exam was rigged.

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Politics
5 min read
Explained: All You Need to Know About Karnataka's PSI Recruitment Scam
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A recruitment examination was held in October 2021 for the appointment of 545 Police Sub-Inspectors (PSI). This was attended by 54,041 candidates across 93 centres in Karnataka. While the results were announced in January 2022, a few students raised objections citing irregularities in the awarding of marks.

Soon, the matter reached the Karnataka Legislative Assembly.

A week later, an OMR (Optical Mark Reading) answer-sheet of one Veeresh got leaked. As per the initial investigation, it was revealed that Veeresh had attended only 21 questions out of 130, but secured seventh rank in the examination. It was believed that Veeresh paid off someone to get his rank altered.

A series of probes, surrounding this incident, has unearthed a police recruitment scam, popularly called the PSI scam. The scam seems to have put the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party government on the backfoot.

Here's what has happened so far.

Explained: All You Need to Know About Karnataka's PSI Recruitment Scam

  1. 1. CID Sleuths Unearth Multiple Levels of Malpractice

    According to the police, the cheating took place at multiple levels.

    • Unfilled OMR answer-sheets were submitted, for someone 'on the inside' to fill in the correct answers.

    • Some candidates used Bluetooth devices to cheat while writing the exam.

    • At some centres, the invigilators provided answers to the candidates.

    While the local police investigated the case at first, later the CID was roped in. The CID first arrested four candidates and three invigilators at a test centre in Kaluburagi. On 11 April, the police nabbed Veeresh, who turned out to be a student from Sadam town of Kalaburagi.

    A report by Indian Express quotes a police officer as saying, "The aspirants paid Rs 5 to 10 lakh in advance and got to know the examination centre and room."

    The CID probe also revealed that the malpractice occurred in Jnyan Jyothi English Medium School. The school was run by Divya Hagaragi, former president of the women's wing in BJP's Kalaburagi unit, and her husband Rajesh Hagaragi. As per the investigation, the school lacked amenities that an exam centre should have, and the CCTV cameras there were dysfunctional.

    Expand
  2. 2. Booked: 30 in Bengaluru, Kalaburagi 

    So far, cases have been registered against 30 candidates in Bengaluru and Kalaburagi, Hindustan Times reported.

    The CID has arrested over 15 candidates including Divya Hagaragi and Rajesh Hagaragi. Rudragouda Patil, who helped with the Bluetooth cheating was also arrested. A few police officers too got arrested.

    The CID sleuths have also arrested three others – GC Raghavendra, CM Nagaraja and his brother CM Narayana from the outskirts of Bengaluru.

    Expand
  3. 3. Accused in PSI Scam Booked in Another Fraud Case

    Rudragowda Patil, a prime suspect in the PSI scam is now booked under another case related to fraud in enrolment of engineers in the Public Works Department (PWD).

    The examination to recruit assistant engineers was held on 14 December 2021. On investigation, the police found that an aspirant who wrote the exam in Bengaluru cheated with the help of an electronic device.

    Expand
  4. 4. Brother of PSI Scam Accused Dies by Suicide

    Vasu, the elder brother of an accused in the PSI scam died by suicide on 10 May. He was found hanging in his home.

    The deceased's brother Manu Kumar is accused of indulging in malpractice and bribery to secure 50th rank in the PSI exam. He is under police custody.

    According to a Hindustan Times report, Vasu was depressed over the CID detaining his younger brother Manu Kumar for 10 days and later arresting him. He was also unhappy about the police raid at their home in Gunje. However, the CID had ruled out Vasu's role in the scam.

    The police said that the reason for the suicide is yet to be ascertained.

    Expand
  5. 5. Congress Corners BJP Over PSI Scam

    Congress MLA Priyank Kharge has alleged that over 300 candidates have paid Rs 70 to Rs 80 lakh each to officials and BJP ministers to ensure employment as PSIs.

    Releasing an audio clip, alleged to be a conversation between a candidate who wrote the PSI exam and a middleman, Kharge told the media that the BJP's top leaders have been involved in the scam.

    Taking to twitter, he wrote, “Now that I have officially written about Sri Prabhu Chavan of the BJP exposing the scam to Chief Minister of Karnataka in February, when will the Home Minister Sri Araga Jnanendra get CID to issue a notice to his cabinet colleague for evidence?"

    Former Chief Minister and Congress leader Siddaramiah has called for the resignation of Home Minister Araga Jnanendra and Higher Education Minister Dr CS Ashwath Narayan, over allegations that people in their close circles have scored well in the PSI examination.

    Accusing police officers, BJP leaders, and the Basavaraj Bommai government of corruption, Siddaramaiah said that the BJP has to be held accountable for the "300-crore recruitment scam" and for having "cheated 50,000 candidates" who wrote the exam.

    Expand
  6. 6. PSI Recruitment Cancelled, Candidates Raise Objection 

    The state government has cancelled the PSI recruitment process on account of the scam. The state has also decided to conduct a re-examination.

    The move has upset some candidates who say that they had genuinely scored well in the examination. About 30 students have approached the Karnataka State Administrative Tribunal, questioning the state government’s decision to conduct re-examination.

    "We are not ready to write the exam again. How can the government force us to write the exam again when we were prompt the very first time."
    Pavithra LN, PSI Aspirant to The Quint

    Successful candidates have raised concerns on two grounds.

    • They have asked the recruitment authorities to identify tainted persons and disqualify only them.

    • Out of 93 centres, the malpractice is believed to have been limited to a few centres in Kalaburagi and Bengaluru.

    Basavaraju, a candidate said, "My aim was to clear the PSI examination. I worked hard and cleared this exam. Now, the decision to hold re-examination is completely wrong. I intend to take legal action if the government continues to punish honest people as well."

    Expand
  7. 7. Has Unemployment Driven Candidates to Cheat in the Govt Exam?

    Though in a better position when compared to other states, Karnataka too has been facing unemployment and under-employment concerns, as its unemployment rate now is at 2.7 percent as against 1.44 percent in December 2021.

    Of the 2.3 percent of suicides in the country, that were due to unemployment, 720 deaths were from Karnataka alone.

    Speaking to The Quint, economist Amit Basole, head of the Centre for Sustainable Employment at Azim Premji University said, "The problem of unemployment and underemployment cannot be solved by any state government by creating direct jobs. However, it indeed has a very strong role to play."
    Amit Basole, Head of the Centre for Sustainable Employment, Azim Premji University

    Making an observation about the PSI Scam, economist Basole said, "Such scams (PSI scam) are an effect of unemployment. The hunger for jobs is what is creating conditions for people to take advantage."

    (At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)

    Expand

CID Sleuths Unearth Multiple Levels of Malpractice

According to the police, the cheating took place at multiple levels.

  • Unfilled OMR answer-sheets were submitted, for someone 'on the inside' to fill in the correct answers.

  • Some candidates used Bluetooth devices to cheat while writing the exam.

  • At some centres, the invigilators provided answers to the candidates.

While the local police investigated the case at first, later the CID was roped in. The CID first arrested four candidates and three invigilators at a test centre in Kaluburagi. On 11 April, the police nabbed Veeresh, who turned out to be a student from Sadam town of Kalaburagi.

A report by Indian Express quotes a police officer as saying, "The aspirants paid Rs 5 to 10 lakh in advance and got to know the examination centre and room."

The CID probe also revealed that the malpractice occurred in Jnyan Jyothi English Medium School. The school was run by Divya Hagaragi, former president of the women's wing in BJP's Kalaburagi unit, and her husband Rajesh Hagaragi. As per the investigation, the school lacked amenities that an exam centre should have, and the CCTV cameras there were dysfunctional.

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Booked: 30 in Bengaluru, Kalaburagi 

So far, cases have been registered against 30 candidates in Bengaluru and Kalaburagi, Hindustan Times reported.

The CID has arrested over 15 candidates including Divya Hagaragi and Rajesh Hagaragi. Rudragouda Patil, who helped with the Bluetooth cheating was also arrested. A few police officers too got arrested.

The CID sleuths have also arrested three others – GC Raghavendra, CM Nagaraja and his brother CM Narayana from the outskirts of Bengaluru.

ADVERTISEMENT

Accused in PSI Scam Booked in Another Fraud Case

Rudragowda Patil, a prime suspect in the PSI scam is now booked under another case related to fraud in enrolment of engineers in the Public Works Department (PWD).

The examination to recruit assistant engineers was held on 14 December 2021. On investigation, the police found that an aspirant who wrote the exam in Bengaluru cheated with the help of an electronic device.

ADVERTISEMENT

Brother of PSI Scam Accused Dies by Suicide

Vasu, the elder brother of an accused in the PSI scam died by suicide on 10 May. He was found hanging in his home.

The deceased's brother Manu Kumar is accused of indulging in malpractice and bribery to secure 50th rank in the PSI exam. He is under police custody.

According to a Hindustan Times report, Vasu was depressed over the CID detaining his younger brother Manu Kumar for 10 days and later arresting him. He was also unhappy about the police raid at their home in Gunje. However, the CID had ruled out Vasu's role in the scam.

The police said that the reason for the suicide is yet to be ascertained.

ADVERTISEMENT

Congress Corners BJP Over PSI Scam

Congress MLA Priyank Kharge has alleged that over 300 candidates have paid Rs 70 to Rs 80 lakh each to officials and BJP ministers to ensure employment as PSIs.

Releasing an audio clip, alleged to be a conversation between a candidate who wrote the PSI exam and a middleman, Kharge told the media that the BJP's top leaders have been involved in the scam.

Taking to twitter, he wrote, “Now that I have officially written about Sri Prabhu Chavan of the BJP exposing the scam to Chief Minister of Karnataka in February, when will the Home Minister Sri Araga Jnanendra get CID to issue a notice to his cabinet colleague for evidence?"

Former Chief Minister and Congress leader Siddaramiah has called for the resignation of Home Minister Araga Jnanendra and Higher Education Minister Dr CS Ashwath Narayan, over allegations that people in their close circles have scored well in the PSI examination.

Accusing police officers, BJP leaders, and the Basavaraj Bommai government of corruption, Siddaramaiah said that the BJP has to be held accountable for the "300-crore recruitment scam" and for having "cheated 50,000 candidates" who wrote the exam.

ADVERTISEMENT

PSI Recruitment Cancelled, Candidates Raise Objection 

The state government has cancelled the PSI recruitment process on account of the scam. The state has also decided to conduct a re-examination.

The move has upset some candidates who say that they had genuinely scored well in the examination. About 30 students have approached the Karnataka State Administrative Tribunal, questioning the state government’s decision to conduct re-examination.

"We are not ready to write the exam again. How can the government force us to write the exam again when we were prompt the very first time."
Pavithra LN, PSI Aspirant to The Quint

Successful candidates have raised concerns on two grounds.

  • They have asked the recruitment authorities to identify tainted persons and disqualify only them.

  • Out of 93 centres, the malpractice is believed to have been limited to a few centres in Kalaburagi and Bengaluru.

Basavaraju, a candidate said, "My aim was to clear the PSI examination. I worked hard and cleared this exam. Now, the decision to hold re-examination is completely wrong. I intend to take legal action if the government continues to punish honest people as well."

ADVERTISEMENT

Has Unemployment Driven Candidates to Cheat in the Govt Exam?

Though in a better position when compared to other states, Karnataka too has been facing unemployment and under-employment concerns, as its unemployment rate now is at 2.7 percent as against 1.44 percent in December 2021.

Of the 2.3 percent of suicides in the country, that were due to unemployment, 720 deaths were from Karnataka alone.

Speaking to The Quint, economist Amit Basole, head of the Centre for Sustainable Employment at Azim Premji University said, "The problem of unemployment and underemployment cannot be solved by any state government by creating direct jobs. However, it indeed has a very strong role to play."
Amit Basole, Head of the Centre for Sustainable Employment, Azim Premji University

Making an observation about the PSI Scam, economist Basole said, "Such scams (PSI scam) are an effect of unemployment. The hunger for jobs is what is creating conditions for people to take advantage."

(At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)

Read and Breaking News at the Quint, browse for more from news and politics

Topics:  BJP   Corruption   Explainers 

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