National

VACB to probe PSC insider links

The Vigilance and Anti-Corruption Bureau (VACB) will verify whether any insider had let drop hints about questions likely to figure in Kerala Public Service Commission (PSC) tests to managers of private coaching centres that offer instruction to candidates to get government jobs.

Investigators are verifying whether the government officials who moonlighted as teachers for the training centres had any contact with those in the classified section of the PSC, which is primarily responsible for framing questions papers and setting answer keys.

They will also interview subject experts who aid the PSC frame question papers for tests to see whether any pattern of collusion emerges. The agency also caught a Fire and Rescue Services Department official red-handed for taking classes after having allegedly bunked work.

Investigators said two Secretariat officers in the General Administration Department were the prime movers behind the two coaching centres now under the ambit of their inquiry. There could be more officers who financially benefited from the coaching centres. The suspect officers had employed several of their colleagues as teachers at their institutions.

Their presence of Secretariat officials as trainers had helped shore-up the word-of-mouth campaign that job aspirants stood a higher chance of landing a government job if they enrolled in the coaching centres at a sizeable fee.

An official said that some of the officials posed to enrol candidates with uncanny confidence that they knew the contours of upcoming PSC tests and likely questions. The agency has earmarked several students on the attendance rolls for questioning.

The VACB seized scores of documents in the surprise raids. Importantly, they included voucher payments made to government officials who stand in as trainers during office hours.

Kerala’s unemployment rate is higher than the national average. PSC coaching centres have mushroomed across the State, attracting job aspirants in droves. The government is deeply concerned about the PSC’s integrity and has asked the body to warn coaching centres from using its name on billboards to lure students.

It is also worried that the Opposition will use the scandal to turn public opinion against the current disposition.

Source: thehindu.com

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