The Delhi crime branch has interrogated the CBSE controller of examination for some four hours over the CBSE paper leak case, the police said, adding at least 1,000 students could have accessed the leaked papers. The Central Board of Secondary Education’s exam in-charge and two other officials were asked about the security measures, how the papers are printed and how they are sent to exam centres, the police said. On Thursday, 25 people — five tutors of a Delhi-based coaching centre and 18 students — were questioned by the police. The dates of the re-examination of Class 10 Mathematics and Class 12 Economics papers will be announced soon, the Central Board of Secondary Education has said. CBSE chief Anita Karwal said the decision to hold fresh exams in the two papers for some two million students was taken “in favour of children”.
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Those who had access to the exam papers had been charging Rs. 35,000 per paper, people with direct knowledge of the matter in the crime branch said. When some parents resold the papers to others to cover their cost, the price of the leaked papers fell to Rs. 5,000, they said.
The First Information Report or FIR shows that the CBSE and the police were aware of the paper leak two days before the exam. On Thursday, students in Delhi held a protest and demanded a complete re-examination, claiming that many other papers were also leaked.
In her first statement since the shock announcement of the CBSE paper leak, the education body’s chairperson Anita Karwal said, “We are working for the children. We will also announce the dates very soon. Nobody needs to worry. We have taken a decision in favour of the children”.
Union Human Resource Development Minister Prakash Javadekar said the dates for the fresh exams will be announced by Monday or Tuesday. “I also could not sleep. I am also a parent,” the minister added. Students continued to protest outside the CBSE office in Delhi today. Some of them said they are suffering due to “CBSE’s mistakes”.
The CBSE had been fending off complaints for days that question papers were leaked. The FIR shows it got a fax on March 23, two days before the Class 12 Economics paper. They informed the police the next day, but the exam was not called off. A case was filed on March 27, a day after the exam.
The case names the head of a coaching centre in west Delhi’s Rajinder Nagar. The police said they recovered snapshots of the handwritten question papers, which were being circulated on WhatsApp, from him. They are trying to trace the source of the WhatsApp messages, but are facing problems because of the end-to-end encryption in the instant messaging software.
The police have questioned 18 students — eleven from various Delhi schools and seven first-year college students. Five tutors of the coaching institute and two others have been questioned as well. The police said they had the handwritten question papers a day before the exam.
The investigation is currently focusing on the role of CBSE officials, invigilators and school staff, coaching centres and printers. But officers investigating the case say they are yet to question anyone from the CBSE or examination centres. The questioning will begin once the source of messages is traced.
“I really feel sorry and sad for the students who have to give their exams again for no fault of theirs. Responsibility shud be fixed n strict action shud be taken against those responsible,” Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal tweeted.
The leaked Economics paper was being circulated on social media, including WhatsApp, several hours before the test started on Monday. On March 15, the Delhi government said it received complaints from the CBSE about the Class 12 Accountancy paper being leaked. The CBSE, however, denied there was a leak. It issued denials again when students reported that the Economics paper was leaked.