The number of people arrested so far by the Special Investigation Team (SIT) that has been probing the Telangana State Public Service Commission (TSPSC) question paper leak case has reached 50.
On Sunday, 4 June, the SIT also got five-day custody of Electricity Department engineer Poola Ramesh after filing a petition in the Nampally Court on Friday.
“We have arrested 50 accused so far. The latest one is Ramesh, Divisional Engineer (DE) of the Electricity Department in Warangal,” Crimes DCP Shabarish P, who is now heading the SIT, told South First.
Shabarish did not deny the possibility of more arrests and the count reaching three figures, as reportedly suggested by Hyderabad City Police Commissioner CV Anand.
He recently stated that the arrests could potentially reach 100.
Engineer in SIT custody
P Ramesh, who is an employee of the Telangana State Northern Power Distribution Company Limited (TSNPDCL) in the Warangal district, provided the leaked question paper to several individuals in exchange for a huge sum of money.
“He struck a deal with one of the invigilators at an exam hall in Langer Houz and procured the question papers within five minutes of its release, through WhatsApp,” Shabarish said.
With the assistance of an invigilator, he transmitted answers to candidates who paid him, using Bluetooth devices. The candidates were wearing discreet micro earpieces to receive the inputs. The cops are yet to identify the invigilator who assisted Ramesh.
The SIT would be extensively interrogating DE Ramesh to uncover the full extent of the scam, according to the investigation officer.
“We will now be identifying the candidates who were wearing Bluetooth earpieces in the exam centres. It will also act as evidence against Ramesh,” Shabarish said.
Accused used ChatGPT
DCP Shabarish confirmed to South First that Ramesh used ChatGPT to obtain answers to the leaked question papers for the Assistant Executive Engineer (AEE) and Divisional Accounts Officer (DAO) exams.
According to local reports, Ramesh planned elaborately to feed answers to seven candidates during two separate exams held on 22 January and 26 February.
Each of the seven candidates had apparently agreed to pay a whopping amount of ₹40 lakh to secure their success.
Ramesh, the alleged perpetrator, had the objective to earn around ₹10 crore by helping “35 aspirants” cheat in their respective examinations.
As he already obtained the photos of the leaked questions through a principal at the exam centre, Ramesh used ChatGPT to obtain the correct answers before discreetly forwarding them to candidates.
Ramesh reportedly didn’t require ChatGPT for the Assistant Engineer (Civil) exam on 5 March as he had already received the leaked question paper from P Ravi Kishore, a junior assistant in the electricity department who is also his relative.
Ramesh had already made approximately ₹1.1 crore before the matter came to light.
Initially, nine people, including two commission employees, a police constable and a school teacher, were arrested on 13 March over allegations of leaking the Assistant Engineer (AE) question paper.
37 candidates barred for life
TSPSC Chairman Janardhan Reddy on 30 May issued orders to debar 37 candidates from appearing for any of the TSPSC examinations until further notice.
This includes two TSPSC permanent employees — P Praveen Kumar and Atla Shekhar Reddy — who were arrested initially along with the 35 candidates who had appeared for the exams.
The TSPSC had also provided the candidates two days to contest the debarment and can provide their explanation within two days to the Commission.
However, none of the candidates challenged the TSPSC’s decision.
“Most of them are in jail,” DCP Shabarish said.
Of the total accused arrested so far, around 10 to 15 hold government jobs, including a Medchal cop Kethavath Srinivas, Prithvi, a Junior Panchayat Secretary in the Khammam district and Ravi Teja, an employee with the Accountant General’s (AG) office in Bengaluru.