After five consecutive Higher Secondary Certificate (HSC) papers, now a sixth paper — Book-Keeping and Accountancy — was leaked on a mobile networking application, at least 15 to 20 minutes before the exam. Special vigilance squads of the Maharashtra state education board caught three students in two separate centres with shots of the paper on their phones — all three had received the images between 10.30 am and 10.45 am on a WhatsApp group, indicating it had reached others, too. The board, however, has refused to call it a ‘leak’. Six people have been booked in the case.
The Kandivli police station on Friday filed an FIR against the three students under sections of Maharashtra Prevention of Malpractices at University, Board and other specified Exams Act -1982 and the IT Act.
“We have registered a case against six people, including the three students,” said Mukund Pawar, senior inspector at Kandivli police station, adding they will investigate to ascertain how far the link of the leaks go.
Flying squads appointed by the board and the education inspector’s office caught the students from two centres in Kandivli. All had reached the exam centre later than others, which alerted the authorities — the board had asked invigilators to make a separate note of students entering the exam room post 10.45 am.
One of the students, who appeared for the exam from Dr ML Narawane School, Kandivli, had reached the exam centre close to 10.50 am. The squad checked his phone and found the images of the paper he had received on a WhatsApp group at 10. 36 am.
In the second case, two students arrived at the examination hall at Balbharti School at 11.15 am, after which the supervisor took them to the principal. He allowed them to sit for the exam but instructed the flying squad to confiscated their mobile phones, on which they found the leaked paper.
“The entire paper was on the phone on a group named ‘Best of Luck’,” said one of the squad members on the condition of anonymity. “We matched the papers and they bore the same code as the original.
Despite this, board chairperson Dattatray Jagtap, who received the complaints at 12.02 pm maintained these incidents cannot be called leaks. “The squad informed us about the three students, we have alerted the Vashi police as well, but they are not paper leaks because there is no evidence it reached more number of students,” said Jagtap
This is not the first time the Book-Keeping and Accountancy paper has been leaked. It leaked first the time on March 6, 2015, and then later in 2016. Teachers said students find the paper difficult to score in. “If you make a mistake in the paper, you stand to lose 15 marks straight away, which makes the subject tougher than maths,” said a coaching class owner.
In the past six days, the HSC Marathi (on last Thursday), Secretarial Practice, Physics (Saturday) and two mathematics and statistics papers (on Monday) have leaked.