Pune: Confusion and Allegations Arise in Ph.D. Screening Test Conducted by Barti, Sarathi, and Mahajyoti Institutes

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Pune, 10th January 2024: The fellowship test conducted for fellowships offered through Barti, Sarathi, and Mahajyoti faced turmoil as students discovered that two types of question papers were distributed during the examination. This discrepancy led to widespread boycotts at examination centers in Pune and across the Maharashtra state. Some students also alleged torn papers, marking the second consecutive instance of confusion in this examination series. Meanwhile, students are now demanding clarity and swift action regarding the fellowship.

The Savitribai Phule Pune University’s SET department, responsible for organizing the fellowship test, faced challenges in the December examination when the 2019 set examination question paper was inadvertently provided to the students. Following protests, the exam was rescheduled for January 4. In a subsequent development, the SET department outsourced the printing of question papers to a third-party organization.

The third-party organization printed and sealed A and B question papers but omitted C and D. Consequently, the university had to print the C and D question papers in-house. Due to the lack of a system for sealing printed question papers, the university administration sent the C and D question papers to the examination centers without seals, a fact known to the university administration.

While the possibility of paper leakage or tampering has not been substantiated with evidence, questions are being raised about the unequal distribution of sealed and unsealed question papers among students. The university administration is under scrutiny for the handling of the examination process, especially given that this confusion has occurred twice in a row for an exam with only 3,475 participants.

Balasaheb Kapadnis, Coordinator of the SET Examination Department at Savitribai Phule Pune University, clarified that the distribution of sealed and unsealed question papers to examination centers was a known fact among all principal officers of the university. He emphasized that the term “paper leak” cannot be applied unless there is evidence of receiving the question paper or some of its questions outside the examination center before the commencement of the examination. The situation remains tense as students await resolution and clarification on the fate of the fellowship.

Responding to these claims, Dr. Vijay Khare, the in-charge Registrar of SPPU, asserted that the examination was organized with utmost care, and there is no possibility of the question paper leaking.