Tulsidas ji, pranam — this is all Bihar board ‘topper’ Ruby Rai wrote when asked to pen down an essay on the poet-saint during a re-test on Saturday, an official said, nearly a month after she told a television channel political science pertained to cooking.
The Class 12 student was arrested for interrogation after the re-test at the Bihar School Examination Board (BSEB) office following a non-bailable warrant against her and three other ‘toppers’.
Rai told the panel she had forgotten what she had studied for the examination that was held three months back. “She claimed to have studied for the examination for two years but could not remember anything,” the expert present during the re-test said on condition of anonymity.
“The panel that examined her (Rai) found her unworthy of the marks she had obtained to top the examination. Following the report, we have cancelled her results,” BSEB chairman Anand Kishor said on Saturday.
“Her answer shocked the entire panel and everyone was left wondering how this girl had topped,” an official present at the venue of the re-test said.
A total of 14 students were called for a re-test by the board after a news channel broadcast a report in which Rai said: “Prodikal (read political) science is about cooking”. Saurabh Shreshtha, who topped the Science stream, had said: “Most reactive element in the periodic table is aluminium”. Rai had scored 444 out of 500 marks, while Shreshtha secured 485 out of 500 in Science stream.
On Saturday, the Class 12 student appeared confident when she arrived for the re-test and refused to cover her face after being arrested, a police constable said. “Her confidence struck us the most.” She used a scarf after police officials insisted she do so.
According to police officials, a Patna court has issued a non-bailable warrant against four toppers including Rai.
The former BSEB chairman Lalkeshwar Prasad and his wife -- a former Janata Dal-United (JD-U) MLA -- are among 20 people who have been arrested by a special investigation team.
The results of the state board’s Class 10 and Class 12 exams had showed a sharp dip in the pass percentage which the education department promptly attributed to a clampdown on use of unfair means.
But the TV channel’s questions to Rai and Shreshtha put the spotlight back on the state’s exam system, notorious for mass cheating backed by a section in the education department.
Photographs of hundreds of people scaling walls of a Bihar school building to help students cheat in the Class 10 board exams last year had left the nation gaping in disbelief and raised questions over the education system in the state.