Special Correspondent

Action comes close on heels of Chief Secretary submitting report

Ex-Minister’s name doesn’t figure in the report

Panel formed to streamline holding of exams

BHUBANESWAR: Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Wednesday ordered suspension of eight employees of the State Board of Secondary Education for irregularities committed with regard to the matriculation mark sheet of the son of former School and Mass Education Minister Bishnu Charan Das.

Mr. Patnaik also ordered a Crime Branch probe into the mark sheet scandal that saw the resignation of Mr. Das as the School and Mass Education Minister on August 17.

Thorough probe

The Chief Minister passed the orders acting upon the report of Chief Secretary Ajit Kumar Tripathy, who conducted an enquiry into the marksheet controversy.

Mr. Patnaik, however, said the name of Mr. Das did not figure in Mr. Tripathy’s report.

“Mr. Das’ name is not mentioned in the report, but there will be a thorough investigation into the whole matter,” Mr. Patnaik told presspersons.

The employees whose suspension was ordered by Mr. Patnaik include Board Secretary Minaketan Pani and Controller of Examinations Manmohan Swain.

The six other employees who were suspended are M. M. Mishra and N. Sutar, both Section Officers; Babaji Behera, Senior Assistant; A.K. Behera and Bharati Patra, both Clerks and G. Mallik, Peon.

With a view to improving the board’s mechanism of conducting examinations, Mr. Patnaik also formed a committee headed by former president of the Board and educationist D. P. Mohapatra to give suggestions to the government.

Mr. Das had resigned on ‘moral grounds’ stating that it would not be proper for him to remain head of the School and Mass Education Department when the matter pertaining to his son’s mark sheet was being probed by the Chief Secretary.

The Chief Minister had ordered an enquiry into the scandal following media reports that Mr. Das’ son Bijay Shankar had scored unusually high marks in this year’s HSC examination. Mr. Das, however, had said it could have been due to computer error.

Das declines comment

The official website of the board had shown the boy scoring 602 marks out of the total 750 when he had actually scored 478. Meanwhile, Mr. Das said he was not involved in the discrepancies in his son’s mark sheet.

Stating that he had nothing to comment on the development, Mr. Das said he would go by the decision of the Chief Minister.