Former chairperson of Bihar School Examination Board (BSEB) Lalkeshwar Prasad Singh and his wife Usha Sinha, accused in the intermediate toppers’ scandal, were brought to Patna on Tuesday without the necessary document from a local court in Varanasi.
Patna senior superintendent of police Manu Maharaj said that the two were brought to Patna without the transit remand as the special investigation unit (SIU) team in Varanasi could not procure it from the local court.
Transit remand enables police to shift a person in custody from the place of arrest to the place where he is to be investigated. According to law, they will have to be produced in a Patna court within 24 hours after their arrest.
Singh is an accused in the scam and his wife is a co-accused. The couple had gone into hiding after their name figured in the scam, police said.
Sources claimed the couple left Bihar and reached Varanasi soon after their alleged involvement in the scam was exposed. After a tip-off, a Bihar SIT team reached Varanasi late on Sunday night and contacted the district police.
Patna Police recorded their arrest at around 8am on Monday. However, it took nearly 11 hours for their production in the local court at Varanasi and they could start their journey to Patna only on Tuesday morning.
Ajit Mishra, the station house officer at the Bhelpur police station in Varanasi under which the arrests were carried out, said that the entry of the arrests was made at his police station at around 11am.
“The arrested persons were produced in the court quite late around 7.15pm. The court had closed by then. The team from Bihar was also there and they may have told the court that the arrested persons would be produced in the Patna court within 24 hours. Transit remand is usually required if the arrested person cannot be produced in the court within 24 hours,” he added.
Lawyers, however, raised questions about the absence of the transit remand saying it is illegal to take any arrested person from one state to another without it.
“I think transit remand should have been procured from the court for bringing the two arrested persons to Patna. I don’t know why it did not happen,” Senior advocate of Patna high court Vinod Kanth said.
Another Patna HC senior advocate YV Giri said that the police would have to explain if the two were produced in the local court and if they were, there must be some reason why transit remand was not given.
Last week, a Patna civil court issued an arrest warrant against Singh, who until recently had headed the BSEB that conducts the Class 10 and 12 examinations in Bihar.
So far, 10 persons have been arrested in the case, police said.
The scam surfaced after a TV channel showed a sting in which two Class 12 toppers could not answer even elementary questions about the subjects they ‘topped’ in.
The merit list of Class 12 examinees was allegedly manipulated in favour of students who paid bribes.