Bihar Staff Selection Commission exam scrapped after question paper leak; BSSC secretary, staffer arrested
BSSC secretary Parameshwar Ram, who was questioned by SIT sleuths for two days, was arrested for his alleged involvement in the racket that perpetrated the leak of question papers.
PATNA: The Bihar government on Wednesday scrapped the recruitment examination for clerical jobs conducted by Bihar Staff Selection Commission (BSSC) after an ongoing probe by the special investigation team (SIT) confirmed that question papers were leaked at least five hours before the examinations started on Sunday.
BSSC secretary Parameshwar Ram, who was questioned by SIT sleuths for two days, was arrested for his alleged involvement in the racket that perpetrated the leak of question papers. A data entry operator of BSSC working at its headquarters in Patna and two men suspected of having links with the racket in Nawada were arrested on Wednesday.
“On the basis of the DGP’s preliminary report and on the recommendation of the chief secretary after that, the examination conducted by BSSC has been scrapped,” said Chief Minister Nitish Kumar to journalists after emerging from a cabinet meeting in the evening.
Ram, who had termed as “baseless rumours” reports of the BSSC question paper leak on Sunday when the examinations were on, was on Monday manhandled by a mob of about 100 angry candidates who had appeared for the exam. Sleuths of the SIT, which was formed under the instructions of the chief minister on the same day, had raided Ram’s house on Tuesday before pulling him in for interrogation.
With the latest arrests, the total number of people arrested in the racket so far has reached 30. The SIT had arrested 27 people in Nawada on Monday for along with electronic devices used to help examinees write the exam. Patna police had also arrested five candidates.
The SIT, led by Patna senior superintendent of police Manu Maharaaj and assisted by the economic offences wing (EOW) of the state police, has found “significant evidence” suggesting that question papers were leaked at least five hours before the examinations began at 11 AM on Sunday in all 38 districts of the state.
A source said call details of several employees of BSSC were scrutinised as part of the ongoing probe and they showed that some of those arrested in Nawada soon after the examinations ended had conversed with BSSC employees. The data entry operator working with BSSC was arrested as several strands of emerging evidence “linked him directly” to the racket believed to have perpetrated the leak of question papers.
In the house of BSSC secretary Parameshwar Ram, SIT sleuths reportedly recovered several sensitive documents related to the examination, including admit cards of several candidates kept under his bed. Sources said EOW officials detected assets belonging to Ram disproportionate to his known sources of income and that a case in this regard would be registered after verification.
“Evidence gathered by SIT point at leak of question papers. If such evidence was brought to our notice the day of the examination, we would have scrapped the examinations,” said BSSC chairman Sudhir Kumar. Scrapping the examinations has hit 4.5 lakh candidates at 732 centres across Bihar, but will now be held afresh.
Senior BJP leader and former Bihar deputy chief minister Sushil Kumar Modi alleged that the racketeers collected nearly Rs 200 crore by collecting between Rs 2 lakh and Rs 6 lakh from each candidate. Question papers with answer sheets were allegedly being sold in the market before the examinations began.