PATNA: A school principal and two teachers expected to administer the Bihar Public Service Commission exam at Veer Kunwar Singh College in Ara district have been arrested in connection with the paper leak of the BPSC 67th Prelims exam held on Sunday and cancelled. Block development officer (BDO), Jai Vardhan Gupta, who was appointed magistrate to oversee investigations in the area, has also been arrested by the Economic Offenses Unit (EOU) of the Bihar Police Force.
“We have arrested four including Barhara BDO (Bhojpur district) in the paper spill,” said Nayyar Hasnain Khan, the additional director-general of police who heads EOU.
The other three arrested have been identified by the EOU: Dr Yogendra Singh, chief superintendent of Veer Kunwar Singh College Ara (VKSC), Sushil Kumar Singh, lecturer-cum-controller and Agam Kumar Sahay, lecturer-cum-assistant center supervisor of VKSC.
The SIT, which was in charge of the probe, registered the first information notification (FIR) late Monday evening and formally began its probe. The Barhara BDO was the first to be arrested on Tuesday morning by the special investigation team set up by the EOU. He was picked up from his hometown and taken to Patna.
The college, which EOU officials said was the epicenter of the paper leak, is linked to a contractor Surendra Singh who comes from a political family and was previously charged in the fake stamp paper case.
Surendra Singh, husband of a former Janata Dal (United) lawmaker from Barhara constituency, denied the college had anything to do with the paper leak.
He told HT on the phone that in 1978 his family donated 5 hectares of land to set up the college and was affiliated with Veer Kunwar Singh University. But in 2017, the affiliation of the college was terminated.
Singh insisted the leak was not from the college and said it had come under the spotlight due to a delay in distributing the questionnaire. “This caused a stir for many of the 900 aspirants who appeared before the college newspaper.”
However, researchers who visited Macaw’s VKSC were not so convinced. An officer said they also encountered complaints from aspirants that a select group of students sat in a separate room 15 minutes before the exam was due to begin at noon and were given the questionnaires. An official said this may not be related to the leak, but if true, it indicates that the system devised by BPSC to ensure fairness did not always work on the ground floor.
In its first investigation, SIT found that the BPSC study leader who received one set of the leaked paper at 11:43 a.m., 17 minutes before the exam on Sunday, would begin at more than 1,000 centers in the state’s 38 counties.
The SIT members also spoke to the person who forwarded the 22-page questionnaire to the exam supervisor. This person, an official said, had received the questionnaire at 11:33 a.m. It is not clear who sent him the leaked paper. But an official stressed that WhatsApp tagged the document on his phone as one that had been “forwarded many times”.
The initial investigation indicates that all versions of the leaked research paper circulating on social media appear to originate from a single point.
The FIR in the paper leak was registered based on 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 the provisions under the 66 Information Technology Act and the 3/10 Bihar Examination Control Act.