Investigations into the CBSE paper leak by the Delhi Police’s Special Investigation Team (SIT) have uncovered a money trail linking parents of several students involved in the case.
According to a report in The New Indian Express, parents of almost a dozen students who were part of WhatsApp groups where the leaked question papers were allegedly shared, have told the investigating team that they paid money to access the papers.
A police officer told IANS that the team had received information that leaked papers were circulated on WhatsApp groups of students, parents, tutors at coaching institutes and their owners from Delhi-NCR.
Police said its probe has found that the leaked papers were shared on 10 WhatsApp groups and each group has over 50 members. Many of these groups have either been deleted or messages cleared from the chat box.
“They have played a key role in sharing these question papers. Group members and admins are being questioned by the team of Special Investigation Team (SIT) of Crime Branch of Delhi Police,” the police officer said, requesting anonymity because he was not authorised to give probe details.
“Parents of students who were part of these groups told us that they paid money to get these papers. The money ranges from Rs 100 to Rs 10,000. We are verifying the claims of the parents,” a senior SIT member probing the case was quoted as saying in the The New Indian Express report.
The Delhi Police had registered two separate cases following complaints by the Central Board of Secondary Education’s (CBSE) regional director. An SIT comprising two deputy commissioners of police, four assistant commissioners and five inspectors was set up to investigate the matter. The team is being supervised by the joint commissioner of police (crime).
The CBSE had on Friday submitted to the police details of the examination centres sought by its Crime Branch. The police had sought details of the examination centres, their superintendents and the contacts of banks where the papers were kept for safekeeping. Police said the board has furnished the details pertaining to both Delhi and Haryana to them.
On Thursday, the police also “interacted” with the CBSE controller of examinations for over two hours to learn about the entire process. An official privy to the probe said things like how the paper is set, details of where the question papers are kept and how they are distributed to various examination centres were discussed with the CBSE official.
The Delhi Police has registered two cases in connection with the leak. The first case relating to the leak of the Economics paper was lodged on 27 March and the other pertaining to the Mathematics paper was lodged on 28 March. The cases were registered on charges of criminal breach of trust, cheating and criminal conspiracy.
Delhi Police seeks Google, WhatsApp help in the probe
The police sought help from WhatsApp to know who all had received and forwarded the leaked CBSE question papers and is still tracking an email ID from where the education board had received a tip-off about the leak, an officer said on Friday.
He said the SIT has already written to WhatsApp headquarters in California, seeking its help “to revive the deleted chats and messages shared on these groups”.
Information has also been sought on the source from where the leaked papers were first forwarded and “who all were the beneficiaries”, the officer said.
“A team of the cyber cell is also examining personal laptops and emails of these WhatsApp group admins and other suspects,” said the officer, adding Facebook chats were also being scrutinised. He said the probe and questioning of some 60 people since Thursday have revealed nothing concrete. “We have not given clean chit to anyone,” the officer said.
“If the sender of the mail is tracked, he can lead us to crack the entire nexus and chain behind the paper leak,” the officer said.
‘Students should find solution to leak’
Meanwhile, facing flak over the CBSE paper leaks issue, Union HRD minister Prakash Javadekar on Friday turned to students for finding a solution to this “challenge”.
“I am facing one problem in the country. It is a problem of the paper leak. So, how to solve it, is also a challenge. And I am throwing this challenge to students. Some people can also work after Hackathon and give us suggestions,” Javadekar said while addressing students at an event marked to launch the finale of the Smart India Hackathon 2018.
The minister, however, said the problem of the CBSE paper leak was not a subject of this year’s Smart India Hackathon, the event during which thousands of students would try to find innovative solutions to the problems being faced by various ministries and departments.
After the CBSE’s announcement of re-examinations, the Congress had sought Javadekar’s resignation and a probe by a high court judge. Javadekar has termed the CBSE examination paper leak issue as “unfortunate” and said the culprits would not go scot-free.
The Opposition parties have also demanded the sacking of Karwal for the alleged lapse.
The Delhi unit of the All India Democratic Students’ Organisation has also demanded a high-level probe into the CBSE question paper leak case and said it showed the board’s “utter negligence” in conducting examinations fairly.
The police since Thursday has questioned 35 people, including a coaching centre’s owner, 18 students and some tutors in connection with the case, an official privy to the investigations said.
News credit: Firstpost