Cops to use phone records to get to persons who leaked PSC question paper

Naseem and Shivaranjith

Thiruvananthapuram: Mobile telephone records of five persons accused of cheating at a government recruitment exam in Kerala have confirmed that three candidates appearing for a test to recruit civil police officers received the answers on their phones. The high-tech cell of the state police has handed over the records to the crime branch probing the sensational case.

Three students of the University College in Thiruvananthapuram, who were accused of stabbing another student of the college in July, were later found to have cheated in the written exam conducted by the Kerala Public Service Commission a year earlier. Two of them found themselves on the top of the rank list and the other on the 17th spot. Their names were struck off the list after the malpractices came to light.

The crime branch is hopeful that the phone records could lead them to the person or persons who leaked the question papers to the accused on the examination date on July 22, 2018.

R Shivaranjith, the first accused in the University College stabbing case, received 96 messages on his phone, which was connected via Bluetooth to his smart watch. He topped the rank list for the recruitment to Kerala Armed Police 4th battalion based in Kasaragod.

P P Pranav, whose name came next on the rank list, was found to have received 78 texts on his phone. A N Naseem did not receive any texts on the phone number he had registered with the KPSC but the police suspect that he had used another phone to cheat. Naseem is the second accused in the stabbing case and Pranav the 17th accused.

The high-tech cell which perused the phone record of the three candidates as well as their two friends, Safeer and Gokul, has reported that a steady stream of texts were sent to the candidates' phones to keep the Bluetooth link active. Safeer and Gokul were near the University College going by their tower location. Naseem's phone was also in the same area but he was likely carrying another phone to the exam centre at the Government Teacher Education College at Thycaud. Sivaranjith and Pranav wrote the exam at separate schools near Attingal.

Though the exam started at 2pm, Safeer and Gokul started texting blank messages from 1:30pm to keep the wireless devices connected. The answers started pouring in after 2:05pm, when they got hold of the question paper from an undisclosed accomplice. Shivaranjith received 81 of the 96 texts between 2:15pm and 3:15pm. Pranav received all messages after 2:04pm.

Safeer and Gokul have confessed to have passed on the answers after quick online searches. All the accused are in judicial custody.

The Kerala High Court has received a petition seeking a Central Bureau of Investigation probe into the case. The investigation team is likely to meet the advocate general on Tuesday to discuss the case.

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