CBSE paper leak: Delhi Police gets reply from Google; teacher, coaching centre directors arrested
Investigations into the CBSE paper leak by the Delhi Police's SIT have uncovered a money trail linking parents of several students involved in the case.
New Delhi: The Delhi Police's Crime Branch got a reply from Google on the details it had sought pertaining to the e-mail address from where the CBSE chairperson was sent a mail about the Class X mathematics paper being leaked, an official privy to the probe said.
A senior police officer said they had got a reply from the online search engine but refused to divulge further details.
Meanwhile, the police continued with their quest to trace the origin of the paper leaks as they visited the schools and coaching centres in outer Delhi that had come under their scanner. More than 60 people have been questioned till now, but the officer said there was "no breakthrough" in the case so far.
Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) chairperson Anita Karwal had received an e-mail a day before the Class X mathematics exam, which was held on 28 March, informing her about the paper being leaked.
The sender of the e-mail had stated that the mathematics paper was leaked on WhatsApp and that the exam should be cancelled.
The mail also contained 12 images of the handwritten mathematics paper allegedly leaked on WhatsApp.
In order to identify the sender of the e-mail, the police had written to Google, asking it to share the details of the e-mail ID. On Friday, the police had sent a reminder to the website to expedite the process.
The Delhi Police registered separate cases on 27 March and 28 March to probe the leak of the Class XII economics paper and Class X mathematics paper, following a complaint by the regional director of the CBSE.
The cases were registered on charges of criminal breach of trust, cheating and criminal conspiracy. The Class XII economics and Class X mathematics exams were held on 26 March and 28 March respectively.
A Special Investigation Team (SIT), comprising two deputy commissioners of police, four assistant commissioners of police and five inspectors, has been set up to investigate the matter. The team is being supervised by the joint commissioner of police (crime).
SIT uncovers money trail linking parents of students
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 registered two separate cases following complaints by the CBSE's 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 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 sought help from WhatsApp, Google
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.
He said police have written to Google headquarters in California to know about the email address — email@example.com — which had alerted CBSE chairman Anita Karwal on 28 March regarding the leak of Class X mathematics paper. The mail also contained 12 JPG files of hand-written copies of the mathematics question paper.
"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.
Plea moved in SC against CBSE move to conduct re-exams
A plea has been moved in the Supreme Court against the decision of the CBSE to cancel and re-conduct the economics exam of Class XII held on 26 March and the mathematics paper of Class X on 28 March over suspicion of alleged question paper leak.
The petition, filed by Shakarpur resident Reepak Kansal, said that there was no justification whatsoever on the part of the CBSE in deciding to re-conduct the exams without holding any inquiry and finding out those responsible for such serious and intentional lapse which has resulted in extraneous financial consideration.
"It is to be noted that this year, 16,38,428 students are appearing for the Class X and 11,86,306 students for Class XII in the CBSE examinations. And therefore, to penalise the student community for an incident which is under investigation and without completion of that investigation/enquiry and issuing a notice on 28 March, 2018 (for re-exams), affects the fundamental rights of students which is arbitrary, illegal and unconstitutional," the plea said.
The petition, which sought directions to the Centre and the CBSE, said that due to the inaction/wrong actions of CBSE officials, the fundamental rights of students, falling in the category of re-examination, has been violated as they would not have proper time and opportunity to appear in their respective competitive examinations.
'Students should find solution'
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.
Jharkhand police arrest three from coaching centre, detain nine minors in Chatra
Jharkhand police arrested three people and nine minors in Chatra, Superintendent of Police Akhilesh Variar said adding that the Special Investigation Team (SIT) probe is still going on.
The three arrested from the coaching centre include a teacher and two directors of the academy, said Variar. CNN-News18 also reported the nine minors detained under the Juvenile Justice Act are Class X students and will be sent to juvenile correctional homes.
NSUI protests outside ABVP office, ABVP calls protests an attempt to defame it
Congress-backed students' body NSUI on Saturday staged a protest outside the ITO office of ABVP alleging that office-bearers of the RSS-affiliated students' organisation were "caught leaking" CBSE exam papers in Jharkhand.
The NSUI alleged that a district convenor of the ABVP in Jharkhand whose name is Sathish Pandey has been booked in the CBSE question paper leak case. "NSUI strongly condemns the double agenda of the ABVP who protested outside the CBSE office today, while their office-bearers are caught leaking papers via private coaching centres in Chatra, Jharkhand," the Congress' student's said in a statement.
The ABVP termed the NSUI's protests as an attempt to defame it and said the arrested persons have no association with it.
"If he is guilty, he should be severely punished. He has no current association with ABVP. ABVP is a students' organization of floating population (not an organization of businessmen). He was shown the door as soon as he joined a coaching institution as a co-owner," ABVP National Media Convener Saket Bahuguna said.
He also demanded strict action against all culprits "because of whom students all over the country are suffering".
Class XII Hindi paper circulating on social media is fake: CBSE
The Class XII Hindi (Elective) paper being circulated on the social media was “fake”, the CBSE said on Saturday and urged the people not to spread rumours regarding the paper.
CBSE is scheduled to hold the Class XII Hindi (Elective) examination on 2 April. “...a fake question paper of Class XII — Hindi (Elective) (enclosed) is being circulated on social media ie WhatsApp, YouTube etc," the CBSE said in a release.
It added that the question papers circulating on these social media platforms were either of a previous year or fake. "Hence, it is requested not to circulate the news about these fake papers, so that the students and other stakeholders are not misled,” the release said.
The board also enclosed the “fake” Hindi paper, which it said was being circulated on the social media, with its statement.
With inputs from PTI
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