After being caught in a tricky situation, the Congress government in Rajasthan on Saturday sacked the State Board of Secondary Education’s chairman D.P. Jaroli and suspended the Board Secretary over the leak of question paper of the Rajasthan Eligibility Examination for Teachers (REET) held in September 2021. The Board had conducted the examination for recruitment of teachers to government schools.
The police investigation has confirmed that the question paper was leaked from the Education Department’s building, Shiksha Sankul, in Jaipur two days before the exam. The Opposition Bharatiya Janata Party has been demanding a CBI probe into the matter ever since the irregularities in the examination came to light.
The orders for dismissal of Mr. Jaroli and suspension of Board’s secretary A.K. Sengwa were issued after a high-level meeting presided over by Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot late on Friday night. Mr. Gehlot said the State government would take strict action against every person responsible for dereliction of duty and negligence and no injustice would be done to the candidates.
The State government also decided to constitute a high-level committee headed by a former Judge of the Rajasthan High Court to give suggestions for ensuring that paper leaks do not take place and the recruitment examinations are conducted in a smooth and uninterrupted manner in future.
Mr. Gehlot said the State government would come out with a Bill containing strict provisions against copying, cheating and paper leak in the upcoming Budget session of the Assembly. He said a “free hand” was given to the Special Operations Group (SOG) of Rajasthan police, which had swung into action and arrested those involved.
The investigation has revealed that the question paper was stolen and leaked from Shiksha Sankul, where a person named Ramkripal Meena employed by the district coordinator for security of papers opened the envelope and sealed it after taking out one paper.
Meena allegedly gave the paper to prime accused Udaram Bishnoi. The accused tutored candidates using the paper after getting payments from them. The SOG is also trying to identify the candidates who gained access to the question paper through the accused.
BJP State president Satish Poonia reiterated the demand for a CBI probe, while affirming that the Congress government was “getting entangled” in the REET irregularities. “Mr. Jaroli’s dismissal and the allegations of political patronage indicate something suspicious. The needle of suspicion is also moving towards a Minister,” Mr. Poonia remarked.
However, Mr. Gehlot accused the Opposition of trying to obtain political mileage and attempting to create an atmosphere in which no recruitment exam could take place in future. “Such people are playing with the future of lakhs of candidates. It is necessary to probe such matters thoroughly, as there are gangs which operate in an organised manner and are involved in paper leaks, copying and cheating,” Mr. Gehlot tweeted.
Mr. Gehlot affirmed that the government officials found negligent in discharging their duty would be immediately suspended and even dismissed. The State government has already suspended three senior officers and 13 employees of the Education Department for their alleged role in failing to prevent cheating during REET.