As the protests in front of the Thiruvananthapuram Secretariat rages on, another piece of news shocks civil society. Among the rank holders protesting in front of the Secretariat demanding that the rank list be extended, are the people who got into the Civil Police Officers list. The latter's rank holders have been in a dilemma for more than one and half years, as the rank list has been kept on hold following the arrest of SFI activists R Sivaranjith and AN Naseem for cheating in the same examination. However, despite taking this long, the police are yet to file a charge sheet in the matter, and the accused are out on bail.
The police officials claimed that they are yet to receive forensic digital evidence in the case, and this is the reason for the delay in filing the charge sheet. Earlier, they had claimed that there are more behind the exam scam, and they would file the charge sheet after everyone was apprehended. However, others claim that the police are deliberately slowing the investigation to protect the culprits.
Meanwhile, the exam scam had cost the genuine rank holders four months since the list was kept on hold. Moreover, as the corona pandemic began, the list was extended without any reprieve and now the CPM government wants to cancel the list, despite the crimes caused by their student organisation members. Today, Finance Minister Thomas Isaac told media reporters that there is no need for any discussion with protesting rank holders. He added that the time limit of the CPO rank list is over and that the government cannot restore the same.
In 2019, the police had arrested Sivaranjith and Naseem in a stabbing case at the Trivandrum University College. Further investigation into the stabbing case revealed bundles of Kerala University answer sheets in Sivaranjith’s home and police learnt that the latter had scored the first rank in the CPO PSC examination, and Naseem scored the 28th. Probing further, the officials learnt that the duo had conducted malpractices during the examination, which resulted in their surprising rankings. The local police probed into the stabbing and the Crime Branch investigated the examination case, including another accused Pranav.
Reportedly, the police used Bluetooth technology to connect with another person outside the examination venue. The students shared the questions and received the answers via text messages. While the investigation did not reveal what kind of device was used, sources say that they may have used a smartwatch since mobile phones were not allowed into the hall. Sivaranjith received 94 text messages, while Pranav — the second rank holder — received 78 test messages. The Crime Branch officials had tested them while in custody and the accused were unable to answer the bare minimum, following which they admitted to the offence. However, the confession is inadmissible in the Court, according to the police, since it wasn’t made in front of a magistrate. Despite the confession, the police are claiming lack of evidence, absconding members and other such trivial matters for not having submitted the charge sheet. All this while denying justice to the CPO rank holders, whose lives the two SFI members ruined through the scam.