Ashok Gehlot’s government on Saturday fired Rajasthan Board of Secondary Education chairman Ajmer DP Jaroli and suspended board secretary Arvind Kumar Sengwa and two others over the paper leak during the teacher recruitment exam (REET) in September.
The state government has also decided to introduce a bill at the upcoming budget session of the assembly with strict provisions to control paper leaks and fraud in exams.
The development came after a high-level meeting chaired by Prime Minister Ashok Gehlot on Friday evening.
“In order to determine the responsibility of the board, the chairman has been dismissed and the secretary has been suspended. The state government will take the strictest measures against any person found guilty of malpractice, negligence and dereliction of duty during the investigation,” Gehlot said in a statement on Saturday.
dr. Subhash Yadav, Deputy Director (HRD) of the Directorate of College Education, and BS Bairwa, Assistant Professor (Chemistry), Administrative Department, have also been suspended.
Gehlot also decided during the meeting to set up a committee headed by a retired Supreme Court judge to make suggestions to ensure that paper leak incidents do not happen and that exams are administered fairly, official sources said.
There were irregularities in the administration’s implementation of the 2021 Rajasthan Eligibility Exam for Teachers (REET) by the Board in September, triggering protests.
Former Prime Minister and BJP leader Vasundhara Raje on Saturday renewed her party’s demand for a CBI investigation into the matter.
In a statement, she said the fairness and transparency of exams should be beyond doubt.
“It is deeply disturbing that the investigative services have suspected Shiksha Sankul in the REET paper leak case. The criminal corruption revealed in the REET exam is shocking,” Raje said.
The offices of the education department are located in the Shiksha Sankul building.
Opposition leader Gulab Chand Kataria and others from the BJP also demanded a CBI investigation.
On Saturday, the Additional Chief Secretary (Education) issued the termination order of DP Jaroli, who was appointed chairman of the board in February 2020 for three years.
The warrant stated that failure to fulfill the duties of chairman of the board of directors was the reason for resignation.
The Department of Personnel issued the suspension of the board secretary Arvind Kumar Sengwa, a RAS official.
Targeting the opposition BJP, the prime minister said some people are creating an environment for political reasons so that no upcoming recruitment exam can take place.
“People like that are playing with the future of thousands of candidates,” he said.
Gehlot said that in many states, gangs are involved in paper leaks in an organized manner, which is a concern for all and that in-depth investigations should be done.
“The state government is coming up with a bill for strict provisions regarding cheating (in exams), paper leaks, etc. in the budget session,” he said.
The prime minister said the state government has given the Special Operation Group (SOG) a free hand to investigate the paper spill and that action is being taken based on the information revealed in the investigation.
“Measures will be taken to immediately suspend and dismiss government employees found guilty of malpractice and dereliction of duty,” he added.
However, Raje claimed that the Congressional government is not taking steps to help the struggling students and maintain the credibility of the exam.
“Now the only option is an investigation by a top body like the CBI to get justice for the candidates,” she said.
The SOG has arrested several people in the case.
It recently arrested Ramkripal Meena, who was employed by the district paper security coordinator at Shiksha Sankul in Jaipur, and Udaram Vishnoi.
Meena allegedly stole the paper from Shiksha Sankul and gave it to Udaram Vishnoi, who is accused of distributing the paper.
After it was confirmed that the paper had been leaked from Shiksha Sankul, the roles of the board chairman, secretary and other officials came under the scanner.
When the irregularities in the administration of exams came to light in September, the state government had suspended one RAS and two RPS officers, 13 staff from the education department and three other police officers.