PATNA: Over 40,000 evaluated answer-scripts of the Bihar School Examination Board's Class 10 exams, which went missing from the strong room of a school in Gopalganj, were sold to a scrap dealer, a senior police official said today.
Four persons were arrested in this connection so far, he added.
"During the investigation, we had arrested the school's night-guard, Pujan Singh, and peon Chittu Singh. Upon interrogation, we learnt that Chittu had hired an autorickshaw, driven by Sanjay Kumar, and sold the answer-scripts at the shop of scrap dealer Pappu Kumar Gupta. Kumar and Gupta too have been arrested," Gopalganj Superintendent of Police (SP) Rashid Zaman told PTI over phone.
The police have recovered only a few of the answer-scripts from the scrap dealer so far.
"From the shop, we could recover only a few evaluated answer-scripts. Besides, three empty bags, in which the answer-scripts were kept, were also seized by us. We are interrogating the scrap dealer to trace the remaining answer-scripts," Zaman said.
The results of the examination are scheduled to be declared on Tuesday.
"It appears that the school staff had indulged in the callous act with a view to making a quick buck. The scrap dealer has said he had paid them about Rs 8,500 for the answer-scripts, which he had weighed, treating those as scrap paper. We are, however, investigating the matter further," he added.
The matter came to light last Sunday when an FIR was lodged on the basis of a complaint from the principal of S S Girls Senior Secondary High School in Gopalganj, saying over 200 bags, containing over 40,000 evaluated, barcoded answer-scripts, had gone missing from the strong room of the school.
The principal, Pradeep Kumar Srivastava, was summoned to the Bihar School Examination Board's headquarters two days later for questioning and was subsequently arrested by the police.
Declaration of the results, originally scheduled for June 20, was deferred till June 26 even as the board maintained that it had recorded the scores of the candidates, whose answer-scripts might have gone missing.
The board had claimed that all the evaluation centres had sent the award-sheets, stating the marks obtained by each candidate, to the headquarters.
Meanwhile, the board issued a fresh statement today, expressing delight over the fact that "the Special Investigation Team (SIT) under the leadership of the Gopalganj SP has cracked the missing answer-scripts case".
It also said that besides Zaman, all the other SIT members, including an additional SP, a deputy SP, an inspector and two sub-inspectors, will be rewarded.