Under fire over merit list muddle, Bihar board chairman resigns

  • Arun Kumar, Hindustan Times, Patna
  • Updated: Jun 08, 2016 17:47 IST
SSC students during first day of exam at Thane Centre Ghodbunder Road. (Praful Gangurde/HT Photo)

Hours after the education department served him a second showcause notice, Bihar School Examination Board (BSEB) chairman Lalkeshwar Prasad Singh, who is under fire for irregularities in the intermediate results, resigned on Wednesday.

Education minister Ashok Choudhary confirmed the development.

“If he would not resign within 24 hours, he would get the sack, as the government has gone by the provisions of the BSEB Act. The Act gives power to the government to sack the chairman after seeking explanation,” sources said.

The department’s second show-cause was terse, asking the chairman why he should not be removed for the lapses within the board, which reflected his “complicity as well as incompetence”.

“As per the Act, the board’s chairman is supposed to function in a well-decided manner laid down by the government and in the larger interest of the board. It is your incompetence that made the department lodge FIR due to a lot of embarrassment to the state,” the notice read.

Soon after resigning, Singh reportedly got in touch with Patna University, where is a professor in the geography department.

A senior official of the education department said BSEB secretary Hariharnath Jha would also be removed. “Now the entire set-up of the board will be changed and its charge may be handed over to an IAS officer,” said the official.

The board had first served a notice to the chairman on Saturday over his unilateral decision to set up a judicial probe into the irregularities without the government’s nod. That same day, the department of education set up a committee to investigate the matter as well.

However, chief minister Nitish Kumar dissolved both committees the next day and ordered a “criminal investigation” into the entire episode. “It is matter of investigation, not inquiry, to fix accountability and take action against whoever is found guilty,” he said.

Despite the resignation, Singh’s troubles are far from over, as police investigation uncovers the state board’s complicity in the intermediate results fiasco. He was quizzed by the police on Monday and his laptop was seized.

Sources said with the police investigation pointing to the board’s complicity in tampering with answer books and the evaluation process to favour VR College (Vaishali), the chairman was out of options.

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