It was with some trepidation that Shankar S., a bank employee, saw off his son to the II PU Physics exam. The exam had been rescheduled following the paper leak and his son had been tense and worried.

While he was at work, Mr. Shankar received an SMS from a number he did not recognise. It said that PU students would have to stay back in their exam centres after the exam hours ended because the paper was leaked yet again. The students would have to answer yet another new paper immediately, it said.

Panic attack

“It was at 12.03 p.m. that I received the SMS, minutes before the exam was to get over,” he recalled. He immediately took his manager's permission and left for the centre. “I also informed my wife who works in an insurance firm. But there was no way either of us could have reached on time.”

The couple landed at the exam centre to discover that the SMS was a hoax. Some other parents too had received a similar SMS. “We were relieved, but I can't tell you what trauma we went through that day,” Mr. Shankar said.

SSLC jitters

A few days after this, when SSLC exams began, conmen who wanted to make a quick buck got into the act. Cashing in on the premium placed on performance in the crucial SSLC results, they started selling what they claimed to be the next day's mathematics question paper for prices ranging between Rs. 3,000 and Rs. 5,000.

It was proved the next day — when these papers were compared with the actual question paper — the fraudsters had passed off the previous year's paper as this year's. Assuring that students and parents need not be apprehensive, the SSLC Board advised them to stay calm and not fall prey to pranksters.

However, given the past instances, the shadow of fear forever hangs on students during every public examination.

G. Ramakrishna, former professor of English and editor of the magazine Hosatu, feels that it is hard to say at what stage of the long chain — from the time when a question paper is set to the last point when a student receives it — the leak occurs.

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