Cbse paper Leak rumours, the whistleblower, the probe, the suspect, protest, politicking and more - Read the whole fiasco with timelines
Since the news broke of CBSE re-ordering the two board exams, fast-paced developments have been seen — from the minister promising a new system to plug leaks and Prime Minister demanding action to reported Delhi Police raids and the Congress asking for Javadekar’s head.
Here’s a wrap of all that’s happened right from the start:
Murmurs of Leak – March 13
The first murmurs about the leak of a CBSE exam paper began when the police control room in Rohini received a phone call about the Class 12 accountancy paper being leaked on March 13, two days before the subject’s examination.
The caller told the police that his tuition friend had offered to sell him the question paper for Rs 4,000. Rajneesh Gupta, deputy commissioner of police (Rohini), said that efforts to track the caller failed as he switched off his mobile and the address given for his SIM card verification was incomplete. The complaint was shelved without much probe.
When pictures of 10 pages of the accounts paper were allegedly circulated on WhatsApp, minutes before the exam was to begin on March 15, it sent authorities in a huddle. The photos being circulated were eerily similar to the questions in set 2 of the accounts paper. A tweet by Delhi’s education minister Manish Sisodia appeared to confirm the leak. But by late afternoon that day, the CBSE dismissed the possibility of a leak saying the seals on all question papers were found to be intact.
An unusual Fax – March 23
So, when the CBSE received an unusual fax at 4.22pm on March 23, they first believed it to be a mischief, police said. The fax, from an “unknown” source, informed that a tuition centre owner in central Delhi’s Rajendra Nagar was involved in the paper leak. The fax sender named two schools in Rajendra Nagar who were involved in the crime.
The complaint was forwarded to the CBSE’s regional office the next day. The regional office in turn passed on the complaint to a police inspector through WhatsApp, CBSE’s regional director told police in his statement.
On being asked why the CBSE did not pursue the case with police more proactively, RP Upadhyay, special commissioner of police (crime), said they had been sharing “inputs with the police from time to time”.
“CBSE has been helping us with the probe,” said Upadhyay.
But another senior investigator said the CBSE officials initially believed the whole thing was a mischief to create rumours. “They thought someone wanted the coaching centre owner to be framed,” said the investigator.
Panic grips students as class 12 economics paper leaks – March 26
On March 26, panic gripped students of Class 12 after claims that the Economics paper had been leaked.
Reports about the leak circulated on social media — including via WhatsApp — several hours before the examination began.
The CBSE denied any slip up.
“We have checked with all examination centres, and the paper was not leaked. The source of circulation of this information is not known yet. We want to urge the students and parents to not panic and assure them that the board is doing its best to ensure the sanctity of the examination,” a senior CBSE official said.
A similar incident occurred on March 15, when the Delhi government said it had received complaints of the Class 12 CBSE Accountancy paper being leaked. A probe was ordered even though the board denied any leak.“There has been no leakage of the question paper. All the seals have been found intact at all exam centres. However, at local level, some miscreants may have circulated messages through WhatsApp and other social media platforms to hurt the sanctity of the exam,” the board had said then.
A tweet surfaces and an envelope is received
Among the first to bring the alleged leak to public knowledge was Ravindra Nath Jha, a man who on his Twitter bio says that he “loves teaching economics”. Drawing attention of authorities, Jha began tweeting images of the economics question paper at 10.21am on March 26. The same day at 6pm, an unaddressed envelope was received at the CBSE Academic Unit in Delhi’s Rouse Avenue. According to CBSE’s statement, the envelope contained pages of hand-written answers to that day’s economics paper.
FIR is registered by CBSE – March 27
The handwritten answers prompted the CBSE to approach the Delhi Police the next day, March 27. The Delhi Police’s crime branch quickly registered an FIR under three Indian Penal Code sections: criminal breach of trust, cheating, criminal conspiracy. The coaching centre owner was picked up for questioning.
Even as the police questioned the man, some other tuition centre owners and several students alleged that the CBSE Class 10 maths paper too had been allegedly leaked, a day before the exam on March 28. A Twitter account that shares CBSE-related issues posted four hand-written pages of the maths question paper at 11.30pm on March 27, over 10 hours before the exam began.
Another FIR lodged
This Twitter account too caught the attention of the authorities, especially when the maths questions the next day was found to be the same as those that had been previously shared. By afternoon of March 28, the CBSE had approached the police with another complaint about the maths paper leak and a separate FIR was registered.
According to Upadhyay, it has been established that both the papers were leaked at least one day before the exams were conducted. The investigators have so far questioned 34 persons.
The leak – March 28
Two days later, on March 28, the CBSE admitted to a paper leak and announced a re-examination of Class 10 Mathematics and Class 12 Economics papers.
The move — perhaps the first time in the board’s history that such wholesale retests are happening — affects 1.7 million class 10 students and 500,000 class 12 students.
The board said it would announce the dates for the retest within a week, but a senior board official speaking on condition of anonymity said they would happen after April 13, when the examinations end.
The Delhi police crime branch on Tuesday and Wednesday registered two FIRs to probe the leaks — the one on Tuesday is connected with the leak of the Economics paper, and the one on Wednesday, with the Mathematics paper.
Police have formed two special investigation teams headed by two DCPs, four ACPs and five inspectors. Special commissioner of police (crime) RP Upadhyaya said “police are probing the source of the WhatsApp messages”.
“We have questioned around 25 people in the case, who are mostly students who had received the question papers over WhatsApp,” he said.
Protest erupts at Jantar Mantar
Holding placards with slogans like ‘Stop playing hit and trial with our lives’ and ‘It’s not the students who need a retest, it’s the system’, hundreds of students protested at Delhi’s Jantar Mantar on Thursday against the re-examination.
They said they have been left “traumatized”.
Bhavika Yadav, a Class 10 student of St Thomas School, said, “We were shocked after hearing the news of the re-examination. Why should we suffer just because a handful of students got the leaked paper before the examination?”
Retest Dates announced
The government on Friday said that the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) would conduct a re-examination for the Class 12 economics paper on April 25.
Anil Swarup, secretary, school education, human resource development (HRD) ministry, said the Class 10 mathematics exam, over which too there is a cloud regarding a possible leak of the question paper, would be conducted again in July if needed, but only in Delhi, the National Capital Region (NCR), and Haryana.
The main suspect - A DU graduate
The Delhi Police questioned the owner of a coaching centre in Rajinder Nagar whose name was shared by the CBSE in their complaint. He is suspected to be behind the leak of the Class 12 economics paper.
The owner of the coaching centre, a Delhi University graduate, used to teach mathematics and economics. He is one of the main suspects, said an official privy to the probe.
Javadekar promises action
Union HRD minister Prakash Javadekar, termed the paper leak issue “unfortunate” and promised the culprits would not go scot-free.
Yesterday, addressing the media, he said a new system would be put in place from Monday to ensure no leaks take place and the government would ensure that there is no injustice.
“The police is on the job and I am very sure, they will nab the culprits as they have done in case of the SSC exam leak case. We have also instituted an internal inquiry,” the minister said.
Modi gets Angry
Prime Minister Narendra Modi spoke to Javadekar, soon after the news broke, calling for strict action against paper leaks in key board examinations.
The PM is believed to have expressed unhappiness over reports that the question paper of these two subjects were leaked.
Congress president, Rahul Gandhi took a jibe at Prime Minister Narendra Modi over a series of leaks, the latest being the CBSE papers, in the country.
Listing out a bunch of ‘leaks’ — data leak, Karnataka poll date leak etc — Gandhi called the “chowkidar” weak. Modi in the run-up to the 2014 general elections referred to himself as India’s chowkidar.
The Congress, at a press conference, demanded the sacking of Javadekar and the CBSE chairperson, and also called for a probe into the leak by a high court judge.
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal too demanded strict action against the people involved in the leak. He said responsibility should be fixed in the matter.
“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,” Kejriwal tweeted.
No retest for majority of students- March 31
Responding to the uproar over CBSE’s decision to conduct retest for class 10 Maths exam, Prakash Javdekar confirmed over 14 lakh students out of 16 lakh students won’t have to give a retest
References:News website - Hindustan Times & Times of India