The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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CM suspends 8 in marks scandal

Bhubaneswar, Aug. 22: Chief minister Naveen Patnaik today ordered the suspension of eight officials of Orissa Board of Secondary Education (OBSE) including its secretary and controller of examination.

The officials suspended are secretary Minaketan Pani, controller of examination Manmohan Swain, sections officers S.M. Mishra and N. Sutar, clerks Bharati Patra and A.K. Behera, senior assistant Babaji Behera and peon G. Mallick.

His order was based on a probe report filed by chief secretary Ajit Tripathy into the marksheet scandal case.

Tripathy was asked by Naveen early this month to inquire into the alleged fudging of a marksheet of Orissa’s school and mass education minister Bishnu Das’s son.

Tripathy submitted a 17-page report last evening.

Das had resigned from the state cabinet last week after facing allegations that he directed department officials to increase the marks of his son in the high school certificate exams held this year.

Naveen has also asked for a further probe into the case by the state CID (crime branch).

The chief secretary later said he has not totally ruled out Das’s involvement in the scandal. “I have not given a clean chit to anyone,” he added.

On his part, Das has denied all charges and has attributed to the change in scores to a possible “computer error”.

However, he is facing stiff criticism from Opposition parties and various student organisations.

The scandal came to light after Debendra Mishra, the former president of the BSE, was tipped off about a student, whose marks were reportedly increased.

He was given a roll number and after investigation officials found the number belonged to Bijoy Shankar Das, the minister’s son.

In the marksheet, Bijoy was awarded 89 in Oriya in place of 39, 80 in English against 50, 60 in mathematics paper II in place of 40, 50 in science instead of 40 and in social science paper II, it was 54 instead of a 45.

Naveen, while talking to the media, conceded that he has sought for the formation of a committee, to be headed by educationist and former president of BSE Prafulla Mohapatra, to suggest reforms in the board.

Last week, the chief minister had appointed IAS officer Arun Samantray as president of the board in a bid to stop the corrupt practises.

The board, a corporate body constituted under the Orissa Secondary Education Act regulates, controls and develops secondary education in the state.

It conducts annual High School Certificate Examinations, CT, CPEd, Prathama, Madhyama, MSS/NRTS and half-yearly language tests.

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