UP government blacklists Gujarat company in constable paper leak case, owner flees to the US

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India Tomorrow

LUCKNOW—Amidst controversy around the medical entrance test NEET UG, and four months after the paper leak of UP Police Constable Recruitment, the Uttar Pradesh government has blacklisted Gujarat-based Edutest Solutions. The security money of this company has also been confiscated.

Edutest was assigned to conduct the UP Police Constable Recruitment examination for over sixty thousand posts. This test was held on 17th and 18th February. Around fifty lakh students had applied for it and 48 lakh students wrote this examination.

But this exam was declared cancelled after the confirmation of the paper leak. The Yogi government had announced to hold a fresh test within six months. After that over three hundred people were arrested but the case of the Gujarat company has become a political issue also.

This case was handed over to the Special Task Force (STF) of the UP police. The paper of the UP Police Constable Recruitment examination was published at Ahmedabad. Earlier, TCS (Tata Consultancy Services) used to conduct such examinations in UP.

UP STF is reported to have sent four notices to the owner of Edutest, Vineet Arya, but he has not appeared before the investigators. STF sources claimed that Arya fled to the United States and did not return to evade legal action against him soon after the case was handed over to the team.

It is alleged that the leak took place from Edutest’s warehouse and after the cancellation of this test, this company has been under the scanner of UP STF.

What is EDUTEST?

Gujarat-based EDUTEST Solutions claims that it has 1590 customers and has conducted 1130 million so far. It claims to conduct 50 million exams every year for the last 10 years in 20 Indian languages and eight foreign languages.

Among company’s important clients include: public service commissions of 11 states, secondary and higher boards of 12 states, technical education boards, subordinate staff selection commission and boards, various universities, various boards and agencies engaged in conducting recruitment and entrance exams at national and state levels.

The company claims to have successfully conducted the Uttar Pradesh Subordinate Services Selection Commission (UPSSSC) Preliminary Eligibility Test (PET) in 2022 that shortlisted  candidates for various state-level vacancies. The company claims that it was the world’s second largest test conducted over a period of two in 75 districts of Uttar Pradesh in October 2022.

As many as 37,58,209 had enrolled for this examination and out of them, 25,11,968 appeared for the exam.  The company says that UP administration. A total of 11,394 secured containers and logistics were used during the transportation of question papers. However, Edutest does not say anything how much it charge from the UP government for conducting this exam.

The company says that in February 2023, it conducted the All India Bar Examination XVII by paper and pen mode across 53 cities and 261 centres with technology-enabled monitoring and confidentiality processes to ensure no impersonation and fair exam practice.

The EDUTEST claims to have procured ISO 9001, ISO 27001, and CMMI Level 5 accreditations.

It also prints question papers which it claims are totally confidential but the recent scam in exams conducted by it in UP has exposed the company’s claims.

Registered as an MSME in Ahmedabad, whose annual turnover shot to over Rs. 200 crores from Rs. 35 crores five years ago, EDUTEST claims to conduct offline and online examinations. The company, according to its website, has four directors, including two from the promoter group and 180 employees.

Company’s Director and CEO Jaya Arya claims to have received Outstanding Women Entrepreneur Award instituted by the SME chapter of India for the year 2013.

Mrs. Arya also floated another company –XAMINDIA Pvt ltd – to bring entire digital exam service under one umbrella and provide digital exam services on a pan-India basis.

Akhilesh Yadav objects to hiring Gujarat-based company

Meanwhile, Samajwadi Party President and former chief minister Akhilesh Yadav strongly criticised the Uttar Pradesh government for awarding a contract to the Gujarat-based company to conduct the state police recruitment examination.

He took to the social media platform X and came up with a series of posts. He alleged that the actions of the BJP government were indicative of their identity: “work for liars and salute to liars.” He demanded that the government make public the FIR against the Gujarat firm involved in the police recruitment scam.

Akhilesh pointed out the serious nature of the allegations, saying that the company conducting the exam was involved in leaking the papers. He claimed that the UP government only took action after the company’s owner successfully fled abroad, suggesting that the blacklisting was a move to placate public anger.

He demanded that the UP government should make public the FIR copy against the company and its owner.

He said, “They should have the courage to send police to Gujarat and recover damages from the owner’s property. Such criminal acts have jeopardised the future of 60 lakh youth in UP.”

He asked the UP government to prove its stance, questioning whether it stood with criminals or with the people of the state. He urged for an investigation into the history, integrity, and quality of every company operating in UP, alleging a “partnership of corruption” when contracts are given to firms with dubious records. He called for a thorough investigation not only into the company involved in the exam scandal but also into every minister or officer associated with the contract.

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