Two months after the Women and Child Development Examination was conducted, the Madhya Pradesh Professional Examination Board, or Vyapam as it is popularly known, ordered the printing of another 200,000 answer sheets for the same examination, causing a loss of Rs.262,350, an RTI query has revealed.
The reply to whistleblower Ajay Dubey from the Directorate of Local Fund Audit in July revealed that even though the examination was conducted on January 31, 2010, the Board asked Ruchi Security Printers on March 31, 2010, for another set of answer sheets for the examination.
Moreover, it also revealed that the Board ordered that 200,000 answer sheets be printed for 94,139 candidates, to which the Local Fund Audit raised an objection - and also frowned on the additional 200,000 answer sheets being printed after the examination, leading to a huge loss to Vyapam.
According to the audit, the board incurred a loss of Rs.262,350 for printing the answer sheets for the second time.
"This is just the tip of the iceberg. Printing of the answer sheets for the same examination, which was already conducted, is testimony to the huge scam that followed in Madhya Pradesh. The exam was conducted for the Class III employees of the state's women and child development department," Dubey told IANS.
Meanwhile, a comprehensive study in 2009 of the examination and evaluation systems of the Madhya Pradesh Professional Examination Board by the state's School of Good Governance and Policy Analysis had given a good report to the now scam-tainted board.
"In order to maintain the sanctity, effectiveness and transparency of admission procedures to various academic and professional courses in different institutions in the state of Madhya Pradesh and for ensuring fairness and equity in the recruitment process for different professional jobs in the state, the Madhya Pradesh Professional Examination Board has been conducting a variety of tests.
"This process has been seen as a screening procedure to ensure that the basic competitive and competence threshold level is certified in the case of applicants in terms of their eligibility, suitability to the professional courses, jobs applied for and in the order of their performance and merit. The Madhya Pradesh Professional Examination Board has gained maturity, experience and confidence in the course of time," the 2009 report stated.
The MP Board, also known as Vyavsayik Pariksha Mandal or Vyapam, conducts examinations to recruit government employees and holds admission tests for medical courses.
It has been mired in controversies for years, but the scams eventually came to light when 20 people were arrested in 2013 for impersonating candidates appearing for the 2009 medical entrance examination.
Forty-five people associated with the Vyapam scam have died -- mostly unnaturally or under mysterious circumstances.
The CBI has already registered 55 FIRs and launched 11 preliminary inquiries into the scam.
(Sidhartha Dutta can be contacted at email@example.com)