A day after the cancellation of the Bihar Staff Selection Commission (BSSC) intermediate-level examination following allegations of question paper leak, police on Thursday indicated that the commission’s chairman could be interrogated in the case.
Highly placed sources in the police department told HT that a detailed questionnaire was being prepared for BSSC chairman Sudhir Kumar in the light of the special investigation team (SIT) probe report and various facts that have emerged during the interrogation of the commission’s secretary.
BSSC secretary Parmeshwar Ram and data entry operator Avinash Kumar were arrested on Wednesday for their alleged role in the question paper leak.
The examination was being conducted in four phases to recruit clerks in state government departments across Bihar. About 95000 candidates had taken the examination at 750 centres across the state in the second phase held on last Sunday. The first phase was held on January 29.
What could spell trouble for the BSSC chairman is his statement on Tuesday that questions might have leaked from either examination centres or the treasury which was given the papers for safe keep.
A senior police officer associated with the probe has ruled out the leak from the treasury or examination centres. The questions of February 5 examination were available since January 29, when the first phase examination took place, he said. The officer was not willing to be quoted midway through the probe.
“Questions reach treasury barely 24 hours or in some cases 48 hours before the examination and arrive at centres in the morning. How could any centre or the treasury be involved in the leak when questions and booklets were available in the market a week before the examination?” asked the official. There were ample evidences that questions of all the four phases had been leaked, he added.
The SIT report, submitted to the chief secretary and the director general of police on Wednesday, clearly states that the sanctity of the BSSC examination had been compromised. As soon as chief secretary Anjani Kumar Singh went through the initial information, he wasted no time in recommending its cancellation to chief minister Nitish Kumar.
“It is a criminal case and the stage for blame game is over. The BSSC secretary remained in denial mode all through the interrogation and kept blaming the chairman for whatever happened until he was shown messages of his mobile which corroborated his involvement. The mobile phone is now with the SIT and a few of the messages were traced to some IAS officers. The detailed study of the call data record may reveal involvement of more bigwigs,” said a senior police officer.
During interrogation, the secretary was not able to answer how he got so many calls and messages seeking favour for particular roll numbers. Besides, some admit cards and other materials were also recovered from his residence.
“In fact, the commission chairman also cannot escape the responsibility in the entire episode merely by saying he was not aware of the question paper leak. Many things happen at his level. Even if he delegated the work to someone, the onus will still lie with him to prove otherwise. Many exams have taken place in the past but question paper has never been leaked from the treasury. In the present case, the complete series-wise answers were available, as was discovered in Saran, Jehanabad, Nawada, Vaishali and Patna districts,” said another officer.
Director general of police PK Thakur said as it was a criminal case, investigators would delve deeper to unravel the entire nexus and whoever was required for interrogation would be quizzed. “The investigation will be taken to its logical end,” he added.
“Here it is not so important who used bluetooth device or WhatsApp messenger or any other means to supply set-wise answers. What is important is the fact that how and where all four question paper sets were leaked from? We have also identified the photo copy centre in Patna where the booklets were first copied. Further investigations have been taken up to track all beneficiaries as well their patrons,” said another officer.