Six months on, CBI seeks records from Himachal police in paper leak case

Published on Nov 21, 2022 05:03 PM IST

Central investigating agency likely to probe the case afresh as inter-state gangs were involved in the police constable recruitment exam paper leak

The paper leak was detected on May 6 when Kangra police, on the basis of suspicion, arrested three candidates who later admitted to have seen the solved paper before the exam. (Representative photo)
The paper leak was detected on May 6 when Kangra police, on the basis of suspicion, arrested three candidates who later admitted to have seen the solved paper before the exam. (Representative photo)

Six months after the police constable recruitment exam paper leak sparked a political controversy in Himachal Pradesh, the Central Bureau of Investigations (CBI) has sought records of the case from the state police.

Also read: On shaky ground, Himachal Pradesh records 40 quakes this year

It is learnt that the central agency may probe the case afresh as inter-state gangs were involved in the paper leak.

Kangra superintendent of police (SP) Khushal Chand Sharma said that the CBI has sought records from the district police. “The CBI had sought the records which we have submitted,” he said.

Around 75,000 candidates had appeared in the written exam for the recruitment of constables in the police department on March 27, the result of which was declared on April 5.

Soon after the exam, a WhatsApp chat was widely shared, triggering fear that the paper had been leaked. Senior police officials dismissed them as rumours.

How paper leak came to light in May

The leak was detected on May 6 when Kangra police, on the basis of suspicion, arrested three candidates who later admitted to have seen the solved paper before the exam.

Subsequently, a first information report (FIR) was registered at Gaggal police station in Kangra under Sections 420 (cheating), 201 (causing disappearance of evidence or proving false information) and 120B (criminal conspiracy) of the Indian Penal Code, while the state government cancelled the exam.

Two FIRs were registered at the state CID police station, Bharari, in Shimla and Arki in Solan district.

Oppn turns up heat, case goes to CBI

After the opposition turned up the heat on the government, chief minister Jai Ram Thakur on May 17 announced handing over the case to the CBI.

As there was no response from the central agency, the state police constituted a special investigation team (SIT) to probe the case.

The opposition Congress and the AAP had been constantly questioning the government over delay in the CBI probe and had been alleging the involvement of leaders of the ruling party and police officials in the paper leak.

Biggest paper leak in country: DGP

Himachal Pradesh director general of police (DGP) Sanjay Kundu called it the biggest paper leak scam in the country as gangs involved had networks across 10 states, including Punjab, Uttarakhand, West Bengal, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Delhi, and Rajasthan.

The SIT found the gangs worked in tandem to sell solved question papers, which were leaked from the printing press, through a network of agents. The paper was allegedly sold for 50,000 to 8 lakh.

Over the course of investigation, the SIT arrested more than 180 people in the case, including history sheeters, engineers, a cricket match organiser, a transporter, a railway clerk, an income tax officer, candidates and their relatives. The mastermind was arrested in June.

About two dozen of them were from other states and some were responsible for leaking papers for other recruitment exams held in other states, including Rajasthan, UP and Jammu and Kashmir.

So far, the SIT has filed a chargesheet against 91 accused in a Kangra court, against 61 in a Shimla court and against 29 accused in Arki.

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  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR

    Naresh K Thakur is a staff reporter in Hindustan Times’ Himachal bureau. Based at Dharamshala, he covers Tibetan affairs, local politics and environmental issues.

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