ITANAGAR, 19 Jul: The capital police have arrested a candidate for using unfair means in the Arunachal Pradesh Staff Selection Board’s (APSSB) surveyor recruitment examination, and two others for helping her on Sunday at the Dera Natung Government College (DNGC) examination centre.
The candidate has been identified as Takoni Dodum (28), while those who assisted her were her cousin Sunny Dodum (38) and his friend Neyaz Ahmed (31).
The junior estimator/draughtsman (Grade 3) exam was held on 17 July, and the exam for surveyors was held on 18 July.
Briefing the press on Monday, ICR SP Jimmy Chiram informed that the APSSB conducted its recruitment examinations on 17 and 18 July.
“While the examination on the 17th went without any incident in three of the APSSB examination centres, on 18 July, at around 12:30 pm, we received information that a female candidate at the DNCG centre was found using a mobile phone during the examination for cheating purposes,” he informed.
The police received a written FIR from centre superintendent N Pramanik that a candidate in Room No 25 of the DNGC centre was engaged in using a mobile phone to cheat.
“As soon as we received the information, we registered a case under Sections 417 (for cheating) and 188 (disobeying government order) IPC,” the SP said.
SI AK Jha immediately visited the exam centre and recorded the statements of key witnesses, and seized a blue Samsung S10 mobile phone used by the candidate.
“The police also seized the phones of Sunny and Ahmed, who used their phones to search for answers through the Google search engine. A notebook where the answers were being written and photos of them being sent to the candidate was also seized.
While the pages had been ripped off from the notebook, the pen impression is there and will serve as proof,” the SP said.
He also pointed out that the centre had invigilators, magistrates as well as observers on duty. The female candidate was also frisked, but the phone was not detected at the time.
The police also seized the 28 jammers installed at the examination centre, in order to ascertain how the mobile phone was working despite the jammers. The camera footage of the room has also been seized to ascertain how the entire incident took place.
“As per the investigation up to now, we have learnt that, on the night of 17 July, candidate Takoni had called her cousin Sunny to help her in the examination, who in turn called Ahmed for help. Ahmed reportedly did not show much interest at the time. However, the candidate called up her cousin again on 18 July at around 7 am, seeking his help. Sunny then called up Ahmed to come to his place. Sunny went from Itanagar to Naharlagun and picked up Ahmed and took him back to his house in Itanagar. At around 10:27 am, the candidate sent a photo of the question paper to her cousin and he in turn sent the answers. The exchange of messages continues till 12:40 pm for almost all the answers, and the candidate attempted the questions on the basis of the received answers.”
“As per the statement of Magistrate Ritu Tawe, she along with doctors was busy attending to a student having health issues when suddenly an invigilator from Room No 25, one Nido Teri, informed the complainant that a candidate was using a mobile phone. They immediately rushed to the room, and the magistrate took the candidate to a separate room for search, and she found that the student, bearing Roll No 2000546, was using a mobile phone and someone was sending her the answers through WhatsApp, which she had already used in her answer script. The police were informed and located the two others within 6 to 7 hours,” the SP informed.
During detailed investigation, Takoni, Sunny and Neyaz stated that they did not forward or send the questions and answers to any other person. The text exchanges were only between Takoni and Sunny. There was also no sign that Sunny had forwarded any message to Ahmed.
“However, we are analyzing the call data records and other related documents, after which the case will be chargesheeted under Section 120 (b)/417/188/511 IPC,” the SP said.
The arrested persons were later released on bail as the section under which the offence falls is bailable.
On the lapse in security, the SP said that necessary action will be initiated against those who were stationed there for frisking the candidates.
“The phone has definitely been used for two hours and we will look into the footage of how this was possible,” Chiram said.
Appealing to all the candidates to follow the rules of the examinations, the SP said that “such attempts to subvert the process of the examination should not be done as they not only harm their chances but also the chances of genuine candidates. This may be a small incident for one person, but it is a serious incident for the entire system, which is why the police have taken the matter very seriously. People should be aware that such attempts will not be taken lightly.”
APSSB Undersecretary and nodal officer for the exam, Priscilla Tayeng informed that 1,574 candidates had been selected to sit for the exams on Sunday, out of whom 1,166 appeared at the government higher secondary school in Itanagar, the Arunachal Pradesh Public Service Commission, and DNGC.
She said that the deputy commissioners are entrusted with the task of conducting the exams and the APSSB issues SOPs.
“Apart from the admit card and a document as proof of identification, a candidate is not allowed to bring any other item into the exam hall. This has been very clearly written in the admit card and candidates are informed from the very beginning of the examination process,” she said, adding that a candidate may be debarred from the exam if found bringing any other item into the exam hall.
On the current cheating case, she said “we are waiting for the police report to initiate action.”
“It has been the endeavour of the APSSB to provide a very clean and transparent procedure of examination, so that meritorious and deserving candidates get their due place in the various government departments,” she added.