Hyderabad: The Telangana State Public Service Commission (TSPSC) exam paper leak case is turning out to be more complex than initially thought as the Special Investigation Team (SIT) of the state police has found its links far and wide.
The SIT has arrested six more persons, taking the total number to 27.
The team nabbed two brokers and four candidates who appeared in the Assistant Executive Engineer (AEE) and Assistant Engineer (AE) exams.
The candidates had allegedly purchased exam papers of AEE and AE for Rs 10 lakhs each from prime accused Praveen Kumar through two middlemen.
They had paid an advance of Rs 1 lakh to Rs 1.5 lakhs and promised to pay the remaining amount after exam results were declared.
The SIT arrested Aadi Saibab and Mudavat Shivakumar of Nagarkurnool, Ramavat Mahesh of Nagarjuna Sagar and Ponnam Varun of Khammam district.
The search is on for three other candidates who had purchased the question papers.
Muralidhar Reddy of Hyderabad and Manoj Kumar of Warangal have also been arrested who were selling AE and AEE question papers on behalf of Praveen Kumar.
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The latest arrests were made after SIT sifted through Praveen’s social media accounts. He was reportedly proving to be a hard nut to crack and the investigators stumbled upon the leak of AEE question paper after a study of his social media accounts.
The SIT identified the candidates after TSPSC authorities evaluated the answer sheets of the exams which were already cancelled on suspicion of paper leak. The authorities zeroed in on candidates who scored abnormally high marks.
During the last two months, SIT had found leak of question papers of Assistant Engineer (Civil), Divisional Accounts Officer (DAO) and Group-1 Prelims.
Last week, the SIT had arrested Bhagwant, who works in the office of Vikarabad Mandal Parishad Development Officer (MPDO) and his brother Ravi Kumar.
Officials found during the investigation that Bhagwant purchased a question paper of Assistant Engineer (AE) exam from one of the accused Dhakya Nayak for his brother Ravi Kumar.
Dhakya is husband of Renuka, a teacher who had obtained question papers from prime accused Praveen Kumar, an employee in TSPSC.
She had purchased the question paper for her brother Rajeshwar Nayak, who had appeared in the AE exam. She along with Dhakya had sold question papers to others.
The TSPSC scam came to light on March 13 following a complaint by a youth. The police initially arrested nine accused including Praveen Kumar, who worked as an assistant section officer at TSPSC and Rajashekar Reddy, a network admin at TSPSC. They had allegedly stolen question papers of some exams from a computer in a confidential section of the Commission and sold it to other accused.
Subsequently, the SIT arrested 15 accused from Mahabubnagar district alone. The investigators later found that the case has links with Hyderabad, Rangareddy, Nagarkurnool, Khammam and Nalgonda districts.
The exam paper leak case created a sensation in Telangana as opposition parties Congress and BJP blamed the BRS government for the leak that affected lakhs of unemployed in the state. The opposition is also demanding a probe by a sitting judge of the High Court or by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).
The SIT has also examined TSPS chairman Janardhan Reddy, secretary Anita Ramchandran and member B. Linga Reddy.
The Enforcement Directorate (ED) is also probing money laundering charges in the case.
The SIT has reportedly identified financial transactions to the tune of Rs 33.4 lakhs in the case.