The Economic Offences Unit (EoU) of Bihar police on Tuesday arrested four persons including the block development officer (BDO) of Barhara block (Bhojpur district) besides principal and controller of Veer Kunwar Singh College (VKSC) Ara, in connection with Bihar Public Service Commission (BPSC) question paper leak case.
The arrested person includes Barhara BDO Jai Vardhan Gupta who was deputed as a static magistrate to oversee the examination in the district’s Veer Kunwar Singh College Ara (VKSC), Dr Yogendra Singh, principal-cum-centre superintendent of VKSC, Sushil Kumar Singh, lecturer-cum-controller and Agam Kumar Sahay, lecturer-cum-assistant centre superintendent of VKSC.
The preliminary test for state civil services examination was held on Sunday and cancelled the same day after question paper was leaked. More than 6 lakh candidates had enrolled for Sunday’s examination conducted for recruitment to 802 posts in Bihar’s civil services. The PT exam was earlier deferred twice due to Covid 19.
The special investigation team (SIT) set up by the EoU to investigate the paper leak on Tuesday first detained Barhara BDO who was deputed as static magistrate to oversee the examination in the Ara district’s VKSC, affiliated by Veer Kunwar Singh University till 2017. The SIT members detained him from his residence and brought him to Patna for further investigation.
“We have arrested four including Barhara BDO in the paper leak case,” said ADG (EOU) Nayyar Hasnain Khan, adding that investigation is on against some more.
The SIT that was entrusted with the probe, registered the first information report (FIR) late on Monday evening and formally started its probe. During the day, the 14-member SIT led by SP Sushil Kumar quizzed at least eight people including BPSC officials, static magistrate, principal, exam controller, centre magistrate concerned and first youth to have received the question paper on his phone.
During investigation SIT found that the BPSC examination controller who received one set of the leaked paper at 11.43am on Sunday, 17 minutes before the exam was to begin at over 1,000 centres in the state’s 38 districts.
The SIT also spoke to the individual who forwarded the 22-page question paper to the exam controller. This person, an official said, had received the question paper at 11.33 am. It is not clear who sent him the leaked paper. But an official underlined that WhatsApp tagged the document on his phone as one which had been “forwarded many times”.
The initial probe indicates that all the versions of the leaked examination paper circulating on social media appeared to have originated from a single point.
The team, which visited Ara’s VKSC, also came across complaints from aspirants that a select group of students were seated in a separate room and given the question papers 15 minutes before the examination started at 12 noon. An official said this may not be linked to the leak but if true, it indicated that the system devised by BPSC to ensure fairness did not always work at the ground level.
The VKSC is linked to a noted contractor Surendra Singh who comes from a political family and was earlier involved in the fake stamp paper case. Surendra Singh, husband of a former JD (U) MLA from Barhara constituency, told HT over phone that the VKSC, was established in 1978. His family members donated 5 acres of land in the name of state governor in 1987 to construct the college. The college affiliation was cancelled by the university in 2017. Singh refused the allegation that question paper leak or became viral from the VKSC premises.
However, Surendra, the former secretary of VKSC admitted that more than 900 aspirants appeared in the BPSC PT and created ruckus following delay in distribution of OMR sheets and question paper.
The Ara SDM verbally allowed keeping belongings and bags on the VKSC premises during the examination period that also led to commotion between students.
The FIR into the paper leak has been registered on the basis of the statement of deputy superintendent of police (DSP) Bhaskar Ranjan under sections 420 (cheating), 467(forgery), 468 (forgery for cheating) and 120b (conspiracy), in addition to provisions under the 66 Information Technology Act and the 3/10 Bihar Examination Control Act.