The Assam police have arrested two masterminds of Class 10 general science and Assamese language question paper leak.
The Board of Secondary Education, Assam (SEBA) rescheduled the science exam after its question paper was leaked on social media, nine hours before it was to have been conducted on March 13. All MIL (major Indian language) question papers were also rescheduled after one of the arrested teachers, Pranab Dutta, confessed on March 16 that the Assamese question paper was also leaked.
A student in eastern Assam’s Dhemaji district claimed the question paper of the mathematics exam conducted on March 6 was also leaked.
Dutta, the headmaster and exam centre in charge of Dafalakata Higher Secondary School in Lakhimpur district, was one of the masterminds of the leak, the police said. The other, Kumud Rajkhowa, a science teacher at the same school, was arrested after he surrendered before the police on Friday.
Assam’s Director-General of Police, G.P. Singh told journalists on Friday that 27 people – 14 adults and 13 minors in conflict with the law – were arrested. Four others, including a minor, were detained and they were being arrested. The minors were lodged in juvenile homes.
“It emerged during the investigation that Dutta had received 29 sets of question papers but mentioned 28 sets in the register. After stealing a copy of the general science paper, he gave it to Rajkhowa, who then circulated it among the students of his school and also sold it to some people,” Mr. Singh said.
“When it was established on Thursday evening that Dutta had also stolen a copy of the Assamese paper and had given it to Rajkhowa, we informed the Chief Minister (Himanta Biswa Sarma), the Education Minister (Ranoj Pegu) and senior officials in the government,” he said.
Mr. Singh also said half-burnt remnants of the leaked question papers were recovered Friday morning. Dutta had taken out these papers from the safe custody of the local police.
“These have been sent to the forensic science laboratory for an examination,” he said.
Dutta said he received ₹5,000 from Rajkhowa but the police were not convinced as the former had purchased an SUV recently.
Mr. Singh said the leaked science paper was circulated through electronic channels and the receivers had made payments through e-wallet. He said further investigation would reveal if more people received the paper.
Samujjal Bhattacharya, the chief advisor of the All Assam Students’ Union on Friday demanded an overhaul of the SEBA in view of the question paper leak. The Assam Jatiya Parishad petitioned Prime Minister Narendra Modi underscoring the stress the students are undergoing because of the rescheduling of the exams at the eleventh hour.