Telangana: TSPSC cancels Group 1 exam, politicians across parties protest against paper leak

Opposition parties demanded the resignation of the TSPSC Chairman and ordered an inquiry into the matter by a sitting judge.

BySumit Jha

Published Mar 17, 2023 | 10:03 PM Updated Mar 17, 2023 | 10:03 PM

The TSPSC has decided to conduct the Group-I preliminary examination again on June 11. (Supplied)

Amid protests by Opposition parties and students’ groups over the question paper leak of a recruitment test, the Telangana State Public Service Commission (TSPSC) on Friday, 17 March, cancelled the Group-I preliminary exam and two other tests.

The Commission, in a release, said that the decision to cancel the Group-I exam — held in October last year — and the Assistant Executive Engineers (AEE) and Divisional Accounts Officer (DAO) tests — held this year — was taken after examining the report of the Hyderabad police SIT and an internal enquiry conducted by the Commission.

The Special Investigation Team (SIT) of the Hyderabad Police had taken over the case of question paper leak.

The decision has been taken to conduct the Group-I preliminary exam again on 11 June, the statement said, adding that the dates for the two other examinations will be notified shortly.

TSPSC Notification on 17 March

The Commission, on 15 March, had cancelled the Assistant Engineers (AE) exam held on 5 March, following allegations of a question paper leak.

Progress in case so far

Nine people, including an Assistant Section Officer in the TSPSC, two candidates, and a police constable, were arrested on 13 March over their alleged involvement in the data breach and for stealing and leaking of TSPSC’s Assistant Engineer (Civil) examination question paper.

The prime accused in the case had appeared for the Group-I preliminary exam and allegedly secured 103 marks out of 150, though he did not qualify.

The Congress, BJP, and different students’ organisations, including ABVP and SFI, have been protesting and are demanding an inquiry by a sitting judge and stringent punishment to those responsible for leaking the question paper.

The police are investigating if there any more people involved in the case and whether any other question papers have been leaked.

Also Read: TSPSC cancels exam, SIT begins probe into question paper leak case

Politics takes its course

Telangana BJP president Bandi Sanjay Kumar, along with several senior party leaders including Huzurabad MLA Eatala Rajender, were taken into preventive custody by the police on Friday, 17 March, for trying to lay siege to the TSPSC office at Nampally to press their demands.

Bandi Sanjay, along with several party seniors and hundreds of workers, assembled at Gun Park to pay homage to Telangana martyrs who had laid down their lives for the formation of a separate state.

As the BJP state president and the party leaders and cadre were getting ready to leave for the TSPSC office, the police stopped them and said that there was no permission to stage dharnas or protest demonstrations.

Tension prevailed for quite some time, as Bandi Sanjay and others were detained by the police, while the party workers tried to break the police barricades, leading to a clash between the two sides.

Lathi-charge on protesters

Raising “We want justice” slogans, the BJP workers marched towards the TSPSC office, but the police allegedly resorted to indiscriminate lathi-charge to disperse them.

The police also resorted to lathi-charge on journalists, camerapersons, and photographers who were covering the Opposition party’s dharna.

Some BJP leaders, including BJP minority morcha state secretary Saifullah, were injured in the scuffle and were shifted to Care Hospital in Nampally.

The police later took Bandi Sanjay and Eatala Rajender into preventive custody and took them away in a van. The BJP workers made an attempt to prevent the police van from moving ahead, but the police forces arrested many of them and shifted them to the police station.

Also Read: Protests over TSPSC paper leak, demand for Chairman’s resignation

Catch and release

BJP workers and Mahila Morcha activists staged a sit-in protest before the Assembly building and raised slogans against the police.

BJP workers and ABVP students burnt effigies of Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao at several places in protest against the Bandi Sanjay’s arrest.

The police shifted Bandi Sanjay and Eatala to Karkhana police station in Secunderabad, and kept them there till the evening, before letting them go.

Later, Bandi Sanjay left for Gandhi Hospital where he called on the victims of the Swapnalok fire mishap and, from there, headed to Care Hospital to call on the BJP workers injured in the lathi-charge.

Sanjay called for protest demonstrations at all district headquarters across Telangana on Saturday, demanding a judicial inquiry into the TSPSC question paper leakage and sacking of IT minister KT Rama Rao.

Gathering at Gun Park

Earlier, addressing the party workers at Gun Park, the BJP state president demanded that the chief minister should react to the entire leakage episode and sack his son KTR from the Cabinet.

“While the unemployed youth are concerned over their future due to leakage of question papers, Chandrashekar Rao’s family members have gone to Delhi to save his daughter Kavitha from being arrested,” he criticised.

He reiterated his demand for sacking of the TSPSC chairman and other members of the Commission who were responsible for the leakage of the question papers, besides paying a compensation of ₹1 lakh to each of the unemployed youth who had suffered due to the leak.

Also Read: 2 TSPSC employees, cop, teacher among 9 arrested in paper leak case

Other Opposition parties also stopped

Youth activists of the Congress were also taken into preventive custody by police on Friday when they attempted to take out a rally to the TSPSC office.

Former IPS officer and Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) Telangana unit president RS Praveen Kumar, who began an indefinite fast, seeking a CBI probe into the paper leak, at the party’s office was shifted to his house by the police.

Kumar said that he will continue the fast at home. He also sought cancellation of Group-I prelims and other exams conducted by the TSPSC in the last one year and said that the TSPSC Chairman should step down.

Also Read: TSPSC paper leak: BRS alleges one of the accused ‘works for BJP’

KTR responds to allegations

BRS working president KT Rama Rao appealed to the youth to focus on getting jobs instead of being part of the conspiracies of political parties.

KTR, in a statement on Friday, said that the TSPSC is a constitutionally-constituted independent institution.

KTR said that it has become clear that Bandi Sanjay Kumar was talking without minimum knowledge and that he was speaking without an understanding of the workings of government systems and their scope.

“Bandi Sanjay, who had made such meaningless and baseless allegations about the inter exams in the past, is facing a defamation case in the public domain. He will have to face criminal cases in the coming days for these conspiracies carried out by him with political malice,” said KTR in his statement.

KTR said that there are hundreds of cases of question papers being leaked in successive job recruitment process in many states ruled by the BJP.

KTR appealed to the youth and students of Telangana state not to worry about the recruitment of TSPSC jobs. He said that the BRS government has already shown its commitment to the unemployed youth by filling up more than twice the number of jobs promised.