42,000 Bihar class-X board answer sheets sold as scrap for Rs 8,500; two held as efforts to trace them continues
The SIT team arrested a scrap dealer who had purchased the answer sheets and the auto-rickshaw driver who had transported them from the evaluation centre at Gopalganj to the dealer's shop.
PATNA: The 42,000 class-X answer sheets of Bihar School Examination Board (BSEB) that went missing just days before the results were to be declared were, in fact, sold as scrap for Rs 8,500, police said on Saturday, even as efforts were on to recover the answer sheets.
The special investigation team (SIT) probing the case arrested a scrap dealer who had purchased the answer sheets and the auto-rickshaw driver who had transported them from the evaluation centre at Gopalganj to the scrap dealer's shop. However, only five answer sheets could be recovered from the shop at Hajiyapur owned by Pappu Kumar Gupta.
"The scrap dealer has admitted to having purchased the answer sheets for Rs 8,500. This happened in the first week of this month. The scrap dealer and the auto driver were arrested after interrogation," said Gopalganj SP Rashid Zaman.
The scrap dealer had been regularly buying useless paper and other material from the evaluation centre, SS Girls' Plus Two School, he added. Gupta told police that the school's peon Chhathu Singh, who was arrested earlier along with the school's night watchman, contacted him over mobile phone and asked him to buy the answer sheets kept in a strong room of the school.
Police are still working on ascertaining the motive behind the sale of the answer sheets before the results were declared by BSEB and whether the education mafia had a role in the matter. BSEB was set to announce the results on June 20, but deferred it to June 26 after 42,000 evaluated answer sheets were found missing.
"We managed to find only about five answer sheets at the scrap dealer's shop. We are raiding various sites, including shops in several towns, trying to recover them. The probe is on," said additional Gopalganj SP Neeraj Kumar Singh, who heads the SIT.
Patna High Court, taking suo moto cognisance of media reports on the missing answer sheets and the withholding of results of over 17 lakh class-X examinees, has asked the state government to submit a report on the matter in four weeks. While BSEB used to store the answer sheets of at least three years at its Patna head office, the practice was allegedly given up in the past two years. BSEB has faced severe criticism due to the toppers' scam in 2016 and 2017. ENDS