PATNA: A day before Bihar School Education Board (BSEB) was to declare the class-X results, a massive controversy erupted on Tuesday as nearly 42,000 answer sheets were found to have gone missing. A school principal and two staffers were arrested and an embarrassed BSEB deferred the declaration of results to June 26.
In the process of verification of the answer sheets of top scorers in various subjects, it was discovered on Monday that as many as 42,000 answer sheets kept at an evaluation centre in the western Gopalganj district were missing. Pramod Kumar Shrivastava, principal of SS Girls’ Plus-Two School which was the evaluation centre concerned, was summoned to BSEB headquarters in Patna and questioned by both BSEB and police officials.
“With Shrivastava’s replies not being intelligible and dereliction of duty on his part having been confirmed, he was arrested. An FIR was already registered in connection with the missing answer sheets,” said a senior BSEB official.
Chhathu Singh, a peon of SS Girls’ High School, and night watchman Aspujan Singh were also arrested as Shrivastava had lodged an FIR at a Gopalganj police station on Sunday. Shrivastava had told police that he was away from the town for summer vacation and the strong room at the school, where nearly one lakh answer sheets were kept, was under the guard of these two employees.
A team of BSEB officials sent to the Gopalganj evaluation centre for verification of 12 answer sheets of toppers had asked Shrivastava for the answer sheets on June 15, said an official. “He could provide only nine answer sheets and then said that nearly one third of the answer sheets kept in the school’s strong room were missing,” he added.
BSEB had fixed June 20 for announcing the results, but the controversy and the ongoing probe forced it to defer it to June 26. More than 17 lakh students had appeared for the class X examinations held between February 21 and 28 at over 1,426 centres across Bihar. The pass percentage of Class 10 last year was 50.12.
Over the past few years, the results of class XII have brought massive embarrassments to BSEB. Last year, Ganesh Kumar, the state topper in humanities, was arrested after it was found that he had forged documents to lower his age and hardly attended classes. His abysmally low levels of knowledge were exposed when he failed to answer basic questions related to the subjects in which he had secured the highest marks.
Similarly, in 2016, Ruby Rai, the class XII humanities topper, was found to have secured high marks by cheating in the examinations. She was arrested as she failed to answer questions during a re-exam conducted by an expert committee of BSEB after the media exposed the scam. In her reply to a TV journalist’s questions, she had said political science is “all about cooking”. She was also heard pronouncing ‘political science’ as ‘prodigal science’.