SSP: Chairman’s role was key in Bihar staff selection question leak case
Patna senior superintendent of police Manu Maharaaj speaks on the challenges in spearheading the intermediate toppers’ scandal and the Bihar Staff Selection Commission question paper leak case.india Updated: Mar 23, 2017 11:50 IST
The question leak of the now cancelled intermediate-level examination conducted by the Bihar Staff Selection Commission (BSSC), has led to the arrest of chairman Sudhir Kumar, secretary Parmeshwar Ram and 32 others.
A year after the intermediate toppers’ scandal, which caused major embarrassment to Bihar, the new scam has exposed the examination racket flourishing in the state.
Hindustan Times caught up with Patna senior superintendent of police (SSP) Manu Maharaaj, who spearheaded both the investigations, which led to arrests of several high-profile people. He speaks on the challenges in investigation and the road ahead. Excerpts of the interview.
HT: How challenging was the BSSC question leak issue for investigation?
SSP: It was one of the most challenging cases, as it was a blind case with multiple linkages. Establishing the link was a major challenge as it involved bigwigs. Initially, there was problem in interrogating people, as it involved many high-profile people.
HT: When did you decide to zero in on the chairman?
SSP: During preliminary interrogation we had asked him several questions but failed to get the desired straight answers. It, however, gave us an inkling that he was trying to hide something. The result was that the special investigation team (SIT) had to strive more to link the loose ends to establish the charge. Interrogation of people arrested initially and analysis of call data records (CDR) also gave us clues to work on and reach some concrete conclusion. We have both documentary and electronic evidence in the case to proceed further.
HT: How was the chairman involved? Did he give any clues during quizzing?
SSP: Yes, he was certainly involved, but he did not reveal the names of people involved in question paper and OMR sheet printing. We asked him all kinds of questions related to question leak, but there was no straight answer forthcoming. His role was crucial as he was the custodian of all confidential exam-related work and without him crucial decisions could not have been taken. What is more, during investigation it came to light that five of his close relatives were taking the exam.
HT: Now that you claim to have the proof , how long will it take to complete the investigation?
SSP: It will take some time, as the case has several links - both upward and downward. It goes beyond state boundaries. We have so far carried out around 20 raids at several places. We have been to Gujarat, Kolkata, Delhi and Jharkhand. Naturally, it will take some time, but we will reach the bottom of it. Many coaching institutes have also come under scanner.
HT: How deep is the malaise of fixing competitive exams in Bihar?
SSP: In this particular case, it has been established that it goes very deep. The same thing had happened last year also during the intermediate board examinations. Whenever we are asked to step in, we try to do our best. In the BSSC question leak case, so far we have arrested 34 persons, which exceeds 32 arrests and surrenders made in the intermediate toppers’ scandal. Investigations have pointed towards the role of some coaching institutions in such exam rackets and around 10 of them in Patna are on our radar.