Assam CID traces exam paper leak source, establishes circulation chain

Detained centre in-charge of school admits role; mastermind surrenders

Guwahati, March 17: The criminal investigation department (CID) of Assam Police has tracked the source of the HSLC exam paper leak to Upper Assam’s Lakhimpur district after one of the detained masterminds, who is the centre in-charge of a school, confessed during investigation, to have “leaked” question papers of two subjects.

Addressing mediapersons here on Friday afternoon, Assam director-general of police, G.P Singh said 27 persons, 14 of them adults and 13 who are children in conflict with law, have been arrested. Four others were detained on Thursday.

Notably, the investigation was carried out by the CID, Assam from March 13, 2023.

“One of the masterminds, who is the centre in-charge of Luhit Khabalu High School, Pranab Dutta, has admitted to have leaked the questions papers of General Science (C3) and Assamese to the mastermind, Kumud Rajkhowa, a teacher of Daflakata high school in Lakhimpur district, who in turn had created a Whatsapp group and circulated the questions of the exam in lieu of money,” Singh said.

“A total of 29 packets of question papers were taken to the school from the local police station (where it was kept) and that one of the packets was found to be missing later,” he said.

After the detention of Dutta on March 16, further investigation was carried out.

“Early morning today, we recovered the half-burnt remnants of the General Science and Assamese papers which were taken out by Dutta. The half burnt papers have been sent to the lab for forensic examination,” Singh informed.

The police chief said the chain through which the papers were leaked and circulated has been established.

 “We now know from where the question paper was taken out and the step-by-step distribution which was initially done by Pranab Dutta for which he had said that took Rs 5000 from Kumud Rajkhowa. However we are not convinced,” the DGP said.

“The paper was transmitted through electronic channels and payments were made through a number of e-wallets,” he said.

“Thirteen among the 27 arrested are children in conflict with law and they are currently lodged in juvenile homes. Last evening we detained four more persons, of whom three are adults. They will be arrested and subsequently brought to the CID headquarters here for further lawful action,” Singh said.

Meanwhile, the key mastermind of the paper leak case, Rajkhowa, who was absconding, surrendered before the police in Lakhimpur on Friday afternoon. The surrender took place after the DGP had appealed to him, during the media conference here, to voluntary surrender as the police would anyway track and arrest him.

MIL exam rescheduled

Amid the HSLC exam paper leak row, the Board of Secondary Education, Assam (SEBA) has rescheduled the examination of all MIL (Modern Indian language/English (in lieu) subjects to April 1, 2023. Earlier, the exam was scheduled to be held on 18 March, 2023.

“This is to notify to all concerned that in view of the ongoing police investigation regarding the leakage of the question paper of the HSLC Examination 2023, and in order to avoid holding of MIL subjects in a compromised situation, the Board of Secondary Education, Assam (SEBA) has decided to reschedule the examination of MIL/English (IL) subjects earlier scheduled to be held on March 18, 2023,” a notification issued on Friday by the controller of examinations, SEBA, read.

“The examination of MIL/English (IL) subjects will now be held on April 1, 2023 from 9am onwards in all the centres of the state of Assam,” it read.

Earlier, following the leak of the General Science (C3) paper, the said exam was cancelled and rescheduled to March 30, 2023

“Yesterday, we had substantial information backed by credible evidence that the Assamese paper was given by Dutta to Rajkhowa. This was immediately conveyed to the chief minister and education minister,” the DGP said.

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