UPSC AS ‘RACKET’ … Keralaminister Jaleel targets Congress leader, says his son passed UPSC exam with lobbying

Chennithala, KT Jaleel
TVM: Kerala’s Opposition leader Ramesh Chennithala, who might face a CBI probe into his role in the Travancore Titanium corruption case alongside former CM Oommen Chandy, is faced with a new embarrassment. Higher Education Minister KT Jaleel came up with an allegation that a prominent leader from here “lobbied” in New Delhi to get maximum marks for his son to pass the civil service examination conducted by the UPSC a couple of years ago.
“There can be a probe also into the way this leader reportedly sought to influence the UPSC interview board to give his son over 200 marks in 2017, when he otherwise got very less marks. Is Chennithala ready for such a probe too,” Jaleel asked at a press conference in Kasaragod. 

Jaleel targeted the Congress leader after Chennithala went on a tangent against the minister over alleged attempt on Jaleel’s part to award grace marks (under moderation system) to MG University students in an exam. The benefit of such a varsity decision went to students who failed only in one subject, who was then offered a small dose of extra marks to enable them pass. 
Jaleel denied he had any role in the university decision, but reports said one of his private secretaries was directly involved in the matter. Governor Arif Mohd Khan, who is chancellor of the universities in the state, has sought a written explanation from the minister after Chennitala took up the matter with the governor two days ago.
Chennithala reacted to Jaleel’s allegation by saying in Kochi that children sitting at home should not be dragged into political fights. Chennithala later said it was true he went with his son to Delhi when interview was scheduled, and this was but normal. “As a father I accompanied him, and why such a fuss over this,” he asked.
The issue of alleged manipulation of marks in the UPSC examination interview, involving Chennithala’s name, has been a subject of hush-hush talk in political circles with link to New Delhi’s power centres. Jaleel now raised the matter openly, though its veracity is yet to be established. 
UPSC examinations are often clouded in controversies, though nothing much comes out in the open. Very many games are allegedly played at the interview level to pass or fail candidates of the interview board’s choice. Tough questions are asked to let down some candidates and easy questions asked to pass “favourites” of those in the interview board, it is often alleged.
Notably, one of the first steps that Prime Minister Narendra Modi took after he became prime minister in 2014 was to do away with interviews for lower grade selection processes, so that manipulations of any kind could be minimized. The Union HRD department, then headed by Smriti Irani, immediately implemented this, and advised state PSCs too to do the same. But most state governements, including the Pinarayi Vijayan government in Kerala, did not respond favourably.
Notable also is the fact that similar complaints have cropped up against the PSC in Kerala too recently, of manipulation at the level of exams.– Agencies, IHN-NN

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