Amid a nationwide outrage over the CBSE paper leaks, the HRD ministry suspended one board official and initiated a probe even as the Delhi Policeâ€™s Crime Branch arrested three persons, including two teachers of a private school, for their alleged involvement in the leak of the Class 12 economics paper.
Mounting pressure on the government, the Congress demanded that Prime Minister Narendra Modi speak out on the matter, even as the initial probe found that it was friendship, not money that prompted the two school teachers to leak the class XII exam paper to a tutor at a coaching centre.
All the three - Rishabh (29) and Rohit (26), teachers atÂ Mother Khajani Convent School, a private school in Bawana, and Tauqeer (26), a tutor at a private coaching centre there - were arrested, the police said.
The school is also under the scanner for allegedly providing the question paper to the teachers around 9.10 am, 35 minutes before the stipulated time,Â Joint Commissioner of Police (Crime) Alok Kumar said.
This gave the two accusedâ€”Rohit and Rishabhâ€”ample time to click the pictures of the paper and send them to Tauqeer, who circulated them to a student, the police said.
The probe revealed that the three were friends for the past four-five years and the money involved was between Rs 2,000 to Rs 5,000, they said.
The police zeroed in on Tauqeer through 10 WhatsApp numbers, four of which were provided by the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) in its complaint, and used for circulating the leaked paper, another police officer said.
The papers circulated through WhatsApp had a location code that matched with that of the code assigned to the private school from where the paper was leaked,Â the police said.
A student, who had got the paper, was found and he led the police to Tauqeer who was detained on Sunday. He shared details of his accomplices with the police after which the trio were arrested.
All the three are currently in police custody for two days during which they would be questioned over the money trail and whether they leaked other papers, the police said.
The police have also questioned the principal and five teachers of the school in connection with the case. They have not been given a clean chit, they said.
A series of tweets from School Education Secretary Anil Swarup said that K S Rana, a CBSE official, has been suspended over laxity in supervising an examination centre in connection with the paper leaks.
â€œConsequent to the arrest of two teachers from Mother Khajani Convent School, Mungeshpur, Delhi, and a coaching institute Head, Tauquir by Delhi Police, for colluding to leak the Class 12 economics paper and probe done by CBSE, a #CBSE personnel,Â K S Rana has beenÂ found lax in supervision,â€ Swarup said.
â€œOn the direction of the HRD Minister @PrakashJavdekar to take swift action against culprits, the Board has suspended K S Rana, the official found lax in supervising examination centre (0859) with immediate effect. A formal inquiry has been instituted,â€ he said.
The police said they learnt of the suspension of the official through the media. They, however, said that they will seek details from the CBSE and might question the official concerned.
A police officer said attempts to trace the source of the handwritten papers circulated a couple of days before the examination have not yielded concrete results as yet.
Amidst the arrests and the ongoing probe, the Congress questioned the silence of senior BJP leaders over the issue and said that Modi should answer the questions that were being raised over the leaks.
â€œIt is unfortunate that the youth of this country are turning (into) cynics. Itâ€™s a serious matter. (Finance Minister) Arun Jaitley is quiet, so is (Law Minister) Ravi Shankar Prasad ... and (I and B Minister) Smriti Irani is glum. So, let Modiji answer and provide a solution for the youth,â€ Congress leader Pawan Khera said at a press conference.
Alleging that the government was â€œinvolved in full-time politics and part-time governanceâ€, Khera accused it of keeping parents and students in the dark.
The Congress leader also referred to the arrest on Sunday of Satish Pandey, an alleged ABVP leader who runs a coaching institute in Jharkhand.
â€œHe is linked to the Sangh. Why did he have the paper? There are layers and layers of mysterious information in this,â€ he said, adding that the last few days had seen the â€œnationalisation of the Vyapam model of the BJPâ€. The Vyapam scam was an entrance examination, admission and recruitment racket that was unearthed in Madhya Pradesh in 2013.
In Kolkata, a group of students, who appeared for this yearâ€™s CBSE class XII examinations, staged a protest over the economics question paper leak and re-exam, alleging that the board was jeopardising their careers.
The students, numbering around 50 and wearing uniforms of their respective schools, congregated at a Garia locality in the southern part of the city for the protest.