PATNA: A police case was filed against a college in Bihar and four of its students who topped the state board’s Class 12 exam but failed to answer basic questions later, triggering suspicion they had cheated their way to the top.
The state education department lodged an FIR against VR College of Vaishali and this year’s four toppers— Ruby Ray, Saurav Shrestha, Shalini Ray and Saurav Kumar — on Monday night after chief minister Nitish Kumar sought a criminal investigation into possible wrong doing in the board exam.
Officials of the Bihar State Education Board (BSEB), superintendents at the exam and evaluation centres, where the answerscripts were evaluated, were also named in the two-page FIR lodged by secondary education secretary Rajiv Ranjan Prasad.
The culprits must be booked as these allegations of cheating have brought a bad name to Bihar, RJD chief Lalu Prasad said. “These are people driven out from the party long ago. All those who have demeaned Bihar should go to jail,” he said, responding to a query linking VR College secretary Bachcha Rai to the RJD.
Notorious for incidents of mass cheating, Bihar was engulfed in a merit muddle when the toppers failed to answer rudimentary questions during a media interaction soon after results were announced. Arts topper Ruby said political science is all about cooking while Shrestha, who topped the science stream, replied to a question that the most reactive element in the periodic table is aluminium.
The board called 14 students for a retest on Friday but Ruby, who had scored 444 out of 500 marks, skipped it citing ill health. Thereafter, Ruby was given time till June 14 to take the retest or risk getting the result struck down.
The police case follows the government’s order to rescind its previous decision to set up a committee of inquiry. The government also shot down a board proposal to institute a judicial inquiry on Sunday.
Board chairman Lalkeshwar Prasad Singh was served a showcause notice for ordering a judicial inquiry without having the authority to do so.
The FIR mentioned that copies of the toppers seemed to have been changed, which makes it a case of fraud. “The exam centre of the college was GA high school, Hajipur. All answer books of Vaishali went to AraBhabua districts, except for this college, which was examined at Rajendra Nagar high school in Patna,” it said.
A special investigation team headed by Patna senior SP Manu Maharaj will investigate the case.
“The investigation has begun and the process of evidence collection is on. Action will follow,” Bihar director general of police PK Thakur said.
The board cancelled on Saturday the recognition of two Vaishali district colleges — VR Colle ge of Kirtipur and Bishundeo Rai college of Bhagwanpur, which has three toppers.
Vaishali gained national notoriety in 2015 for large-scale use of unfair means after visuals emerged of parents and friends climbing a multi-storey building to provide answers in pieces of paper to their wards writing an exam. Nitish Kumar, after being reprimanded by the Patna high court, had cracked the whip on cheaters, resulting in the arrest and suspension of hundreds of students and their parents.