Specially fabricated devices, custom-made shirts used to cheat in VSSC test: Kerala police


PTI, Aug 22, 2023, 12:17 PM IST

A specially fabricated electronic device and custom-made shirts to accommodate camera lens were some of the features of the ”organised” plan to impersonate candidates and cheat in recruitment test for vacancies in the Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre (VSSC), police said on Tuesday.

Thiruvananthapuram city Police Commissioner, Nagaraju Chakilam said the preparations carried out by those involved indicated that they have committed such crimes in the past as well.

The IPS officer also said that the investigation in the case would not only be IT-based, but would also be an all-India probe which would require checking whether such incidents have happened in other states in the past.

”Huge amount of money is also involved in it. It is evident from the fact that they (accused) arrived here by flight a couple of days before the test. They are a well organised team,” the officer said.

As the four persons arrested till now in connection with the impersonation and cheating during the recruitment test hail from Haryana, the investigation would also be focused on ascertaining whether any coaching centres of that state were also involved, he said.

Speaking to a TV channel following the arrests and the launch of a full fledged probe into the incident, Chakilam gave details of how the accused carried out the manipulations to ensure they clear the recruitment test for those who paid them for it.

”They used a specially fabricated electronic device and earpiece and the mobile phone camera lens. The camera lens, the earpiece and somebody elsewhere were connected to the device. The shirts had custom-made button holes to accommodate the camera lens.

”All the preparations indicate that the techniques and the device have been used in many other places. The device itself is not a new one, but appears used. It is also not a branded item and looks to be locally fabricated for this purpose by a technical expert,” the Police Commissioner said.

The special device also had a sim card enabling it to relay the questions outside and receive the answers in the earpiece, he said.

”Three such gadgets have been recovered from the accused,” he added.

Therefore, normal telephonic channels of communication were not used by the accused to carry out their manipulations, he said.

As the accused speak colloquial Haryanavi, police are using persons who speak the same to get information from those in custody about who all were part of the conspiracy, the officer also said.

While two from Haryana were arrested late Sunday night after being caught red-handed, from two separate centres, impersonating candidates and cheating in the test, two others from the state were arrested on Monday night, police said.

After the impersonation and cheating came to light, police on Monday had launched a full-fledged probe and VSSC later, on the same day, cancelled the exam.

VSSC, the lead centre for the development of ISRO’s launch vehicles, in a notification had said that the written test to the posts of technician-B, draughtsman-B and radiographer-A that was held on August 20 at various centres in Thiruvananthapuram stands cancelled.

”The revised schedule for the test will be informed to all the candidates concerned, through the VSSC website in due course. Inconvenience caused is regretted,” it had said.

As more than 400 candidates from a single state — Haryana — had taken the test, there are suspicions over whether coaching centres may be involved. An investigating team will be sent to Haryana to collaborate with the state’s police for the probe, police had said on Monday.

A case under Sections 406 (criminal breach of trust), 420 (cheating) and various other provisions of the IPC and the Information Technology Act has been lodged against those arrested, police have said.

The national-level recruitment test was held only in Kerala at 10 exam centres across the state, police added.

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