JOA Recruitment Paper Leak: 2 held in Himachal Pradesh for tampering with candidates' OMR sheets

Two people, who were peons at the now-dissolved HPSSC, have been arrested for allegedly tampering with JOA IT OMR sheets.

JOA Recruitment Paper Leak: 2 held in Himachal Pradesh for tampering with candidates' OMR sheets HPSSC news, JOA IT paper leak case. (Picture: Wikimedia Commons)
Press Trust of India | Mar 26, 2023 - 10:11 p.m. IST
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HAMIRPUR: The vigilance team probing the paper leak case has arrested two people, who were working as peons in the erstwhile HP Staff Selection Commission (HPSSC), for allegedly tampering with OMR sheets to help candidates clear the Junior Office Assistant (JOA) (IT) (Post Code 939) examination held on April 24 last year.

The vigilance department had registered a case of cheating, forgery and criminal conspiracy against four people -- peons Madan Lal and Kishori Lal, Dinesh Kumar and Madan Lal's son Vishal Choudhary -- under sections 420, 465, 468, 471, 120B of the Indian Penal Code on March 11. Investigations had pointed out that peons Kishori Lal and Madan Lal had tampered with the OMR sheets of two candidates and helped them get selected.

Also Read | State government suspends HPSSC with immediate effect over paper leak incidents

One of the candidates was the son of Madan Lal and the other was his neighbour. The court had rejected the bail plea of Kishori Lal. The vigilance department sleuths had called Kishori Lal and Madan Lal for questioning on Saturday. The two accused were taken into custody in the evening hours, officials confirmed on Sunday.

So far, the vigilance department has registered five cases in connection with irregularities in examinations held in the past and former secretary of the commission Jitendra Kanwar would also be questioned. Following the paper leak, the vigilance department is investigating 20 examinations held in the past three years.

Earlier, FIR was also registered in connection with the examination for 314 posts of drawing master following sufficient incriminating evidence collected by the investigation team. The JOA (IT) paper leak scam was unearthed on December 23 last year, two days before the examination was scheduled, when the vigilance department sleuths arrested Uma Azad, senior assistant of the now-disbanded HPSSC, red handed with solved question paper and Rs 2.5 lakh cash, besides a laptop and other documents.

Also Read | Past HPSSC recruitment examinations under scrutiny in JOA IT paper leak case

The state government had suspended the functioning of the HPSSC over the recruitment exam paper leak and postponed all the examinations to be held in the near future before dissolving the commission. The forensic experts examining the electronic devices recovered by the vigilance department in the case had found question papers, financial transactions, audio recordings and chats during the scrutiny of electronic data from the devices of the accused which indicated that papers were leaked in the past as well.

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