How a 16-year-old whistle-blower strove to get CBSE exam cancelled after paper leak
At 1.39 am on March 28, hours before the Class 10 mathematics exam was to be held across India, CBSE chairperson Anita Karwal received a complaint on her official email address that the test paper had been ‘leaked over WhatsApp’.Updated: Mar 31, 2018 08:04 IST
A 16-year-old west Delhi school student appearing for his Class 10 board exam was the whistle-blower who informed the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) chairperson about the leak of the Class 10 mathematics board examination paper.
At 1.39 am on March 28, hours before the Class 10 mathematics exam was to be held across India, CBSE chairperson Anita Karwal received a complaint on her official email address that the test paper had been ‘leaked over WhatsApp’. The whistle-blower, who used his father’s Gmail account, requested the chairperson to cancel the examination.
Although the exam went ahead as scheduled, the CBSE approached the police the same day. The crime branch registered a first information report at 8 pm on March 28 on the basis of this email forwarded by the CBSE. The special investigation team probing the case wrote to Google seeking help to identify the whistle-blower. HT tracked the man and his teenage son who sent the mail.
The man, who works at an upscale Delhi club ,confirmed that his son is the whistleblower. “My son got the mathematics question paper on Whatsapp from a friend. He seemed worried and told me that he would inform CBSE and get the exam cancelled,” he said, asking that neither he nor his son be identified. The son attached a copy of the question paper he had received in the e-mail, which was sent to the CBSE chairman’s official e-mail address and not seen till the morning of March 28, by which time it was too late to cancel the exam.
“We are ready to cooperate with the police but are yet to be approached so far. My son told me he used my phone to send the mail. This must be the reason why my email address is in the FIR (first information report). He had done it in good faith,” said the father.
CBSE chairperson Karwal confirmed having received the mail before the exam. “ The mail had a question paper attached. We informed police when the attached question paper turned out to be the same. Police then filed a case,” she said.
Anil Swarup, secretary, school education in the Union Human Resource Development Ministry, said the mail was sent at 1.39 am but directed to an official email address, so it was checked only at 8.55 that morning. “It was sent to controller of examination for cross checking but as per rules the question paper cannot be opened before 9.30 am. By the time we cross-checked, the paper had started and it was not possible to cancel it at that moment,” he said,
Meanwhile, the special investigative team, led by two deputy commissioner of police-rank officers, is yet to make a breakthrough in the case. Police have so far questioned around 34 persons, including students and tutors who received the question paper over WhatsApp. Police have also approached CBSE’s controller of examination, seeking details of those who had set the question papers, where they were stored and how they were distributed.