Amid raging controversy over question leak of intermediate-level clerical-grade examination conducted by the Bihar Staff Selection Commission (BSSC), here comes a new twist.
Apparently apprehending trouble, BSSC chairman Sudhir Kumar had written a confidential letter to Bihar home secretary Amir Subhani on January 31, just a couple of days after the first phase examination on January 29, to suspend mobile and internet services in all district headquarters and places with exam centres to prevent rumours on question leak through WhatsApp messenger.
“Going by experiences, rumours of question paper leak cause law and order problem and discontent among candidates. Keeping in mind the large number of candidates taking the recruitment exam, it is requested that temporary suspension of internet services in all the districts of Bihar be put in place between 10 am and 1 pm on February 5 so that miscreants do not indulge in rumour mongering,” he wrote.
The chairman sought direction to all mobile service providers to suspend internet services for the period. “Though the exam date is Sunday, exceptions may be exercised for banking services, LAN and other essential services,” he wrote.
A copy of the letter was also marked to chief secretary Anjani Kumar Singh.
According to sources, the BSSC chairman provided a copy of the letter to special investigation team (SIT), which is probing the alleged question leak, on February 11 when it quizzed him.
“The SIT should also satisfy the chairman with regard to steps taken in the light of the apprehensions expressed by the chairman. With over 18.5 lakh examinees applying for the posts, its importance was huge,” said an officer, adding it was quite common in Gujarat to suspend internet connectivity during important exams.
Sources said the home department ignored the BSSC chairman’s letter while job racketeers allegedly leaked the question papers, which went viral on WhatsApp. Officers investigating the leak are tightlipped on the issue of the chairman’s letter.
Patna senior superintendent of police Manu Maharaaj, who is heading the SIT, said he was looking into the matter. “We will seek legal opinion on it,” he added.
An IG-rank officer said if the SIT was really serious about getting to the bottom of the matter and track the leak trail, a senior officer should have been included in the probe team.
“How can a SP-level officer put questions to senior IAS officers? Five years ago, when an exam racket surfaced, the economic office unit (EOU) was entrusted with the responsibility to inquire and an IG-rank officer monitored everything,” he said.
The BSSC was conducting exam for over 17,000 posts of panchayat secretary, revenue worker and clerks in government departments across the state. The exams have since been cancelled.