MU ex-VC canít escape trial in 2001 MPSC case
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Bombay High Court has refused to quash trial against former Mumbai University Vice-Chancellor Shashikant Karnik in the 2001 Maharashtra Public Service Commission (MPSC) case. HC said the anti-corruption bureau (ACB) allegation that 398 answer sheets in the MPSC exam, held under the chairmanship of Karnik, for appointment of sales-tax inspectors, assistants and police sub-inspectors were substituted was extremely grave and an offence against society.
Karnik was MPSC chairman from July '99 to September '01. He allegedly ordered rescanning of answer sheets and secured two original ones, as also keys to a cupboard where originals were kept. ACB also accused Karnik of accumulating Rs 3 crore beyond his known sources of income.
Justice R P Sondurbaldota said, "It cannot be said there is no material whatsoever on record to connect the petitioner to the incident."
P M Pradhan, lawyer for Karnik, claimed the only evidence against him was a decision taken to allow candidates who took preliminary exams to take the main after mistakes were found in the preliminary paper. He contended the original answer sheets and keys to the cupboard were not procured by Karnik but were procured in his name by another accused.
HC, however, took note of a statement by MPSC officer Ranjana Phatak that Karnik called her in his chamber and then Controller of Exams Sudhakar Sarode asked her to hand over keys to the cupboard on the orders of Karnik. It also noted the reason given for rescanning answer sheets was that data was corrupted, but a report of National Informatics Centre claimed there was no virus in the computer and it was functioning normally.
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