The disgraced intermediate arts topper of the Bihar School Examination Board (BSEB) was granted bail by a children’s court on Monday.
Additional district judge I, Parvez Alam, turned down the July 13 order of the Juvenile Justice Board (JJB) that had rejected her bail plea on grounds of “gravity of offence”.
“Allowing bail, the judge said gravity of offence should not be considered while deciding the bail of a juvenile. It is in the best interest of the juvenile that she be granted bail,” the girl’s counsel Krishna Deo Mishra said.
The order, he said, would now be sent to the JJB and she should hopefully be released on Tuesday, he added.
Charged with having manipulated her result, the minor was arrested by the special investigation team (SIT) of the Bihar police on June 25. While arresting the girl, the police did not mention her age in its forwarding letter to the court.
Mishra, with the help of the Prayas Juvenile Aid Centre, took up her case and petitioned the special judge vigilance-I Raghvendra Kumar Singh on June 29, claiming that she was a minor. He also produced a matriculation certification, which mentioned her date of birth as November 15, 1998.
The court, after getting the document verified by the SIT, ordered on July 4 the girl to be transferred from the Beur central jail to the after-care home in Gaighat in Patna, and all her records transferred to the JJB.
The lid was blown off the merit list scam on May 30, two days after the declaration of intermediate arts results, after television interviews of arts and science toppers revealed they had little knowledge of the subjects they had supposedly aced. It prompted the state government to order a crackdown on the BSEB, following the merit muddle.
The disgraced humanities topper grabbed national headlines by claiming she was taught cooking in political science classes. She could barely pronounce her subject, which she referred to as ‘prodikal science’.
She was among the several toppers whose results were scrapped and summoned by the board for a re-test. But she flunked the re-test, managing only a single line – “Tulsidas ji, pranam” – when asked to write an essay on the poet in her re-test on June 25. She claimed she had forgotten what she studied.
Investigators have found details of collusion of BSEB top officials in the scam, by which colleges undeserving of affiliation were granted recognition without fulfilling criteria for land, laboratory, own buildings and prescribed quota of teachers, besides other things.
They also found that most of these colleges had no enrollment or teachers and only registered students at examination time who paid full fees and were asked to pay lakhs to secure first divisions.