A few hours after the department of education served him a second show-cause notice, Bihar school examination board (BSEB) chairman Lalkeshwar Prasad Singh on Wednesday resigned over charges of irregularities in intermediate exam results.
Later, a government notification also said former Bihar board official Anup Kumar Sinha would be its new secretary, replacing Hariharnath Jha – also facing charges in connection with the scam.
A source said the government did not leave the BSEB chairman with any choice. “If Singh hadn’t resigned within 24 hours, he would have been sacked. The government was going by the provisions provided in the BSEB Act, which empowers the government to sack the chairman after seeking an explanation,” he added.
Though the chairman has quit, his problems are far from over. With the police investigating the board’s role in the intermediate results fiasco, he could even be arrested if the police discover evidence of any direct involvement on his part.
Sources said the second show-cause notice categorically asked Singh why he shouldn’t be removed from his post over lapses that 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 interests of the board… It is your incompetence that embarrassed the department and forced it to lodge an FIR,” it added.
The first show-cause notice, served to Singh on Saturday, questioned his decision to call a “judicial probe” into the examination results without seeking the government’s nod. Chief minister Nitish Kumar later got the probe junked, and instead ordered the Patna police to lodge an FIR against four toppers – Saurabh Sreshtha, Rahul Kumar, Ruby Ray and Shalini Ray – besides the director of VR College and several education officials.
The controversy broke out late last month when regional television channels showed Ruby Ray – Bihar’s topper in political science – fumbling to answer the most basic questions pertaining to her chosen academic discipline.
Following this, the board decided to conduct a re-test on June 3 to confirm that the toppers had not scored meritorious marks through dubious means.