Medical Science University VC resigns after alleged irregularities in Madhya Pradesh medical exams
Bhopal: Madhya Pradesh's top state-run medical university is in soup over widespread irregularities including tampered exam results that emerged in a report commissioned by the government, following which Vice-Chancellor of Madhya Pradesh Ayurvigyan Vishwavidyalaya also known as the Medical Science University, Dr TN Dubey resigned.
As per various media accounts, the case similar to Vyapam scam is under investigation after the report highlighted that the private company which was handling the entire process of creating mark sheets held on to the data instead of sending them to a confidential branch of the university. Thus, there could be a potential chance of tampering with the results.
The Medical Science University has almost 300 colleges under its ambit. It governs those colleges that teach medicine, dental studies, nursing, paramedicine, Ayurveda, Homeopathic, Unani, and Yoga in the state. The university is responsible for handling around 80,000 students in any given year. However, recently, there have been allegations of irregularities in the evaluation of exam papers.
Authorities took action over the alleged scams after activist Akhilesh Tripathi sought Right to Information (RTI) last year. It was alleged that some students, who never appeared in any of the tests for the last few years have passed the exams.
The Medical Education Minister Vishwas Sarang ordered a probe in May this year. Thereafter, a team of three university officials and information technology experts investigated the allegations and submitted its report to the state government on June 8.
Dr Prabhat Budholia, the university registrar, on Monday told News18 that all the allegations have been thoroughly examined by a team of IT experts. "We will bring things back on track," he said. The irregularities seemed to take place during the tenure of then registrar JK Gupta, a controversial officer serving the university on deputation. His dubious qualification has allegedly made many raise eyebrows at the time of his appointment.
As per a recent media report by NDTV, the reports suggested that from preparing question papers, checking and re-evaluation of the answer sheets to issuing mark sheets, there have been marked irregularities in the whole process. The report also mentioned that though the "company's server is in the confidential room of the university, the database was not given even after officials demanded the same".
Moreover, the report allegedly claimed that no digital interface for examinations was created by the IT firm, and the whole data was exchanged via emails. The data of the mark sheets were cut-pasted in PDFs and Excel files via email thus making it easy for miscreants to alter the original data. The protocols which are usually followed to prevent the modification of sensitive data such as exam scores were also not maintained, the report added.
NDTV further reports that the inquiry committee found an examination controller of the university, a clerk and an unidentified contractual employee tampered with the marksheets of the students before they got published. The matter posed a serious question on the reliability of the university's exams.
Akhilesh Tripathi, whose RTI application led to the probe, told NDTV, "Even after the matter came to light, there was no FIR against the company that made the result. Only its contract was cancelled. The company did not even give the data to the university, saying that their office in Bangalore is closed because of lockdown. Then the company went to the High Court against the termination."
The accused company, Mind logistics Infratec is a private firm responsible for providing question paper and conducting the whole process of exam till the publication of marksheet. Previously, the firm entered into a legal conflict with Agra Medical University after it lodged an FIR over some inconsistencies. The company got blacklisted by the university on July 5. However, the order was stayed by the High Court. The High Court considered the case on last Monday and reportedly listed it for further hearing on August 31. Dr Prabhat Budhaulia, Registrar of the University stated, "The company has gone to the court. We have appointed a lawyer. The honourable court will decide."
After the firm got blacklisted, various appointments including the appointment of Dr Dubey, a noted neurosurgeon and Vice-Chancellor of the institute has been questioned. Meanwhile, Dr TN Dubey put in his papers on August 14. However, he added that, this was a decision spurred by "personal reasons as he wasn't able to see his patients due to official engagements at the university".
"The probe committee had found that the private IT firm minted money helping students clear exams, also getting marks increased in revaluation, and also overcharged for official works. Besides, 11 appointments of the university were irregular," said RTI activist Akhilesh Tripathi.
On the other hand, the firm involved in the whole scandal denied all the charges. "in the last few months, we were subjected to various kinds of harassment by one of the officials of the university for vested reasons. There was a lot of pressure on our project team by the said official to compromise the sanctity of the exams which we refused to oblige. The said official misused his position and without following any due process of the norms of the university and without any official sanctity had terminated our contract and blacklisted as well on the 5th of July 21. The same was challenged by us before the Hon'ble High Court of Madhya Pradesh which was pleased to stay the blacklisting of our company on the 29th of July 21 and posted the matter for further hearing on the 16th of Aug 21", the company said in an emailed statement.
"We are hopeful that the Hon'ble HC (High Court) will decide the matter based on our submission and render justice. Since the matter is subjudice we don't want to comment anything about the individual official whose credentials are questionable as well," the company added.
Meanwhile, the medical education minister has said that the exam anomalies will be probed thoroughly and no one will be spared if found guilty of wrongdoing.