Lucknow: Making innovative use of a popular multi-purpose sealant, a recently busted syndicate hoodwinked the biometric attendance system at the Uttar Pradesh Police constable recruitment examination, but in the process sealed its own fate.
The Uttar Pradesh Special Task Force (STF) today arrested 22 people in Meerut, IG STF Amitabh Yash told PTI, taking the total number of arrests during the two-day exam to 49.
In a major crackdown against the syndicate, 27 people were arrested yesterday for allegedly aiding cheating through hi-tech devices such as spy-mics, and placing "solvers" impersonating the aspirants, officials said.
The STF arrested 11 persons from Gorakhpur and six persons from Allahabad yesterday. Another three persons were arrested from Allahabad by the district police, they said.
Seven more persons were arrested from Faizabad by the district police late last night, the officials added.
The two-day Uttar Pradesh Police constable recruitment examination began yesterday at 860 centres in 56 districts to fill 41,520 posts.
"During interrogation, Kaushal Patel, who was arrested from Allahabad, admitted that they used to take contracts for helping candidates to clear the examinations," a UP STF spokesperson said.
"The accused used to take advance payment from the candidates and the rest of the money was paid through post-dated cheques. They also used to keep the original ID proofs and admit cards of the candidates.
"To bypass the biometric attendance, the syndicate used to take the fingerprints of the left and right thumbs of the candidates on M-seal, which was sent to a laboratory in Kolkata for making a gelatin cover of fingertip, which was in turn worn by the 'solvers' (impersonating aspirants)," he said.
"After this, the impersonator would appear in the examination instead of the original candidate, and mark his attendance through the biometric system," the spokesperson said.
Around 20 units of the multi-purpose sealant were seized from the possession of the arrested persons, he said.
On whether such a technique was used for the first time, the STF spokesperson, quoting the accused, said, "Attempts to bypass the biometric attendance system were made earlier as well. But the attempts were quashed by the STF".
Senior Superintendent of Police (Allahabad) Nitin Tiwari said a spy microphone along with a hearing device were seized during a raid yesterday.
A case has been registered against the accused at Naini police station (Allahabad) and Cantonment police station (Gorakhpur) under various sections of the IPC and IT Act, the STF said.
The state government had taken the help of the STF and local intelligence to curb the activities of the copying mafia during the state board exams earlier this year.
The mafia usually takes contracts guaranteeing success in Class 10 and 12 board exams. Impersonators are made to appear in examinations in place of real candidates. The exam centres where copying can be facilitated easily are also earmarked.
To counter the practice, CCTV cameras have been installed at all examination centres. The state is also planning to make Aadhaar compulsory for students filling forms for the board exams from next year.