BENGALURU: Hours after Mrs. Pallavi Akurathi, Director, Department of Pre University Education, told Deccan Chronicle in an exclusive interview that she had nothing to do with the scandalous double leak of the PUC Chemistry paper, she was transferred out of the department. She has been transferred to DPAR as secretary to the government. Transport commissioner Ramegowda will be the new director of the PU board.
Ms Akurathi, denying all charges hurled against her, said, “I assumed charge as director on February 29 and the II PU final exams began on March 11. The only work related to the final examination which was done after I assumed office was transporting the question papers to the treasuries. I was only learning the ropes of the department, reading and understanding the circulars related to the examination and its administration. This incident has shocked me too."
She, however, said she had full faith in the CID probe. “I am waiting for its report. I am confident the truth will come out,” she asserted.
Was she suspicious about any officer of the department in the question paper leak? She replied in the negative. “I only know that a few officials and employees have been in the same wing of the department for many years.” She refused to comment on any conspiracy theories to remove her from office, saying all will be revealed by the investigation.
On the student protests that have greeted the postponements of the exam, she claimed her feedback from them was actually positive. “Many students from across the state called me after the question paper leak and supported the department's decision to hold a re-exam as they felt it would help clean up the system and do justice to all students," she said.
On primary and secondary education minister Kimmane Rathnakar insisting that the PUE director was responsible for the question paper leak and related incidents, she said she hadn't come across any such statement.
Not enough hands to draft question paper
The government may have acted swiftly and suspended 40 officials and employees of its examination section, but now the PU department is short of staff to conduct the Chemistry re-exam for students on April 12.
“Yes, I am aware of this. We need to find a solution to this challenge of conducting the re- examination without 40 employees,” said state transport commissioner, Ramegowda, who has been put in charge of overseeing the re-exam, when contacted.
The high level advisory committee that he heads will hold its first meeting at the PU board on Saturday to discuss the arrangements for the re-examination.
Meanwhile, if sources are to be believed, the PU department plans to opt for a fresh question paper instead of using one of those already prepared, for the re-exam. “There is strong suspicion that all the question papers prepared were leaked. So as a precaution, the government is thinking of preparing a new question paper,” said sources.
But Mr. Ramegowda refused to comment on this saying it was a confidential matter.
CM fails to persuade PU evaluators
The meeting between the Chief Minister and the agitating staff hired for evaluation of II PUC examination papers failed to break the deadlock on Friday. While the Chief Minister requested the evaluation staff to withdraw their agitation, they decided to take a decision on Saturday, after meeting of their district office bearers.
During the meeting the Chief Minister requested the evaluation staff to drop the agitation in the interest of the students and assured to look into their demands later. However, the evaluation staff urged the Chief Minister to implement recommendations of Kumar Naik report and bring pay parity among evaluation staff. They also urged the Chief Minister to raise the evaluation fee. Siddaramaiah asked them not to raise the issue now and assured that he would address their problems after the evaluation is completed. The meeting was also attended by Primary and Secondary Education Minister Kimmane Rathnakar and officials from Finance Department.