Aizawl, Apr 16 (PTI) The Mizoram government has ordered a probe into alleged irregularities in examinations conducted by the Mizoram Public Service Commission (MPSC).

Former chief secretary and ex-MPSC chairman M Lalmanzuala has been appointed to conduct a preliminary inquiry into the alleged irregularities in the civil service exams conducted last year, an order issued by the state vigilance department said.

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Lalmanzuala has been asked to submit his report within seven days.

"Chief Minister Lalduhoma expressed his desire for an inquiry into the veracity of the allegations in line with existing standard operating procedures (SOPs) and rules governing the conduct of such examinations," the order said on Monday.

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"The allegations are not only confined to the misconduct under service law, but also appear to involve violations of penal laws, which necessitate a thorough preliminary inquiry to initiate timely action," it added.

The state's apex student body, Mizo Zirlai Pawl (MZP), has launched an agitation at the MPSC office demanding the resignation of the commission's chairperson JC Ramthanga over the irregularities.

MZP president H Lalthianghlima alleged that irregularities took place in the conduct of a combined competitive examination held in October last year as marks obtained by some candidates were found altered on answer papers and tabulation sheets using correcting fluid.

He said MZP has also received a plethora of complaints from students about their marks.

The organisation's general secretary, Chinkhanmanga Thomte said that correcting fluid was hardly used in the past and when the evaluator wanted to correct the marks he or she had already given, he or she would strike it off with pen and would give the new marks by putting his or her signature or explanation remarks under the marks.

MPSC officials, have, however, claimed that marks were not altered.

Normally, answer sheets undergo three-tier evaluation and evaluators are not allowed to give marks on answer sheets except on tabulation sheets, they said.

However, sometimes, evaluators tend to give marks on answer sheets, which are required to be erased or removed before passing on the answer sheets to the next evaluator, they said.

This is done to ensure independent evaluation, they said.

The marks given separately by the first and second evaluators on tabulation sheets are compared by the third evaluator or scrutiniser, who allot the final marks after making corrections if needed, officials said.

Subsequently, the final marks given by the scrutiniser are carefully examined by the MPSC office after which final tabulation is done, they added.

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