The Crime Branch CID of the Tamil Nadu police on Sunday arrested a TNPSC record clerk H. Omkanthan (45) on charges of handing over the key of a safe containing answer script bundles to prime suspect Jayakumar of Chennai who made fresh entries on select papers from another vehicle on the move and replaced them at an opportune time. The police conducted a search in the premises of Omkanthan and seized a couple of mobile phones.
Investigators said the accused had in a midnight operation taken away from a vehicle the answer scripts of the Group-IV Services examination conducted by the Tamil Nadu Public Service Commission (TNPSC) and tampered with them before replacing them.
Investigation revealed that Jayakumar here approached Omkanthan seeking his help to access the answer scripts and offered ₹15 lakh as bribe. After taking ₹2 lakh as advance, the clerk managed to get posted at Ramanathapuram district for examination duty on September 1, 2019.
Omkanthan was part of a team comprising another TNPSC employee Manickavel and a police constable that was entrusted with the task of transporting the answer scripts from the Sivaganga treasury to the TNPSC headquarters in Chennai in a parcel vehicle. After collecting the sealed bundles of answer scripts around 8 p.m., the team left for Chennai and Jayakumar followed it in another vehicle.
At 10.30 p.m., the team stopped for dinner. While others were busy in the restaurant, Omkanthan handed over the key of the safe to Jayakumar who took away select bundles to his car. During the next few hours, he made fresh entries in the answer scripts of candidates from whom he had taken money. However, he could mark answers only on 39 answer scripts owing to shortage of time.
When the escort team stopped near Vikravandi to have tea, Jayakumar replaced the bundles, returned the key to Omkanthan and fled. The record clerk was aware that some candidates had used evaporative ink to mark answers and that Jayakumar had made fresh entries.
The answer scripts reached the TNPSC headquarters shortly after noon. The offence took place in the intervening night of September 1 and 2, 2019 along the Sivaganga-Chennai national highway.
While the search is on to apprehend Jayakumar, a special team arrested A. Balasundaraj (45) of Seelayampatti in Theni district who was a middleman in the scam.
Parrying questions on whether the TNPSC staff had checked the seal on the safe and the answer script bundles when they received the consignment, a CBCID official said investigation had revealed that both the seals were tampered with. The statement of the accused would further be corroborated with technical evidence, he said.
The CBCID has so far arrested nine persons, including three candidates in the scam.