27 people, including 13 students, have been arrested today in connection with the Assam Class 10 board exam paper leak.
The General Science examination, scheduled for last Monday, was cancelled by the Board of Secondary Education, Assam, or SEBA, on Sunday night after reports about the paper leak circulated.
Just a few days later, on Thursday, Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma announced that the Assamese paper of the Class 10 state board exam had also been leaked,
A police case was filed and the CID has been ordered to investigate the matter, Assam Education Minister Ranoj Pegu said.
“The police found the areas -mainly Majuli, Dibrugarh, Lakhimpur, Sadiya, Dhemaji- where the paper leak had taken place. The police also got some inputs and chains were established. Soon the two kingpins, Pranab Dutta and Kumud Rajkhowa, were zeroed in,” Assam DGP GP Singh explained.
Pranab Dutta, the headteacher and centre in-charge of Luhit Khabalu High School of Majuli, has been detained, the DGP said.
Mr Singh said that remnants of burnt question papers have been recovered from Dutta’s house and are being sent for forensic examination.
The other accused, Kumud Rajkhowa, a teacher of Daflakata High School in Lakhimpur, is a close associate of Dutta, he said.
Earlier this week, Education Minister Pegu had said that Assam school teachers were not involved in the paper leak. “There is no question of involvement of teachers. The papers are kept at police stations and taken to examination centres only on the morning of the test day,” Mr Pegu added.
The exam paper leak has sparked protests. The ongoing Budget Session in the Assam Assembly saw protests by the Opposition who questioned the Himanta Biswa Sarma-led BJP government in the state over the question paper leak.
Student groups like the All Assam Students Union (AASU) also heavily criticised the government.
Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma on Thursday conceded that the question paper leak for Class 10 state board exam is a “failure” on the part of his government.
The government, in future, will take all possible steps to further strengthen the Board of Secondary Education, Assam (SEBA), which conducts the Class 10 matriculation examination in the state, Mr Sarma said.