According to reports, the Board got a tip-off on March 23, two days before the Economics exam
New Delhi: Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) on Thursday said it would soon announce new examination dates for Class 10 Maths and Class 12 Economics papers, which were cancelled after they were leaked on social media hours before the exam.
According to CBSE’s official release, “the fresh dates for the reconduct of the two exams shall be announced before the end of the week, after taking into consideration the dates of other professional exams and logistics.”
On March 26, Class 12 CBSE students were left appalled following rumours of the leak of the Economics paper. However, CBSE denied the claims, saying they had “checked with all examination centres and the paper was not leaked.”
“There has been no leakage of the question paper. All the seals have been found intact at all the exam centres. During the process of exam, however, at local level some miscreants have tried to play mischief by circulating messages through WhatsApp and social media to disturb the sanctity of examinations. CBSE has decided to take strict action against such activities. A police complaint is being lodged by CBSE,” a CBSE official statement read.
A case was filed on March 27, a day after the exam. But according to reports, the Board got a tip-off on March 23, two days before the economics exam.
Also a copy of the leaked question paper of Class 10 Math exam was reportedly delivered to the office of CBSE chairperson on March 27. Later the Board admitted to having knowledge of the paper leak.
“On March 26, CBSE academic unit received an unaddressed envelope containing four sheets of handwritten answer papers of economics paper held on that day. It was indicated in the papers kept inside the envelope that the question paper was leaked and circulated through four WhatsApp numbers,” CBSE said in its complaint to Delhi Police.
Investigating the paper leak, Delhi Police Crime Branch conducted raids at various locations across Delhi on Thursday. The investigation is currently focusing on the role of CBSE officials, invigilators, coaching centres and printers.
The paper leak case named the head of a coaching centre in West Delhi’s Rajinder Nagar. The police say they have recovered from him snapshots of the handwritten question papers, which were being circulated on WhatsApp.
“We are trying to trace the source of the WhatsApp messages, but are facing problems because of the end-to-end encryption,” a source in Delhi Police Crime Branch told Gulf News.
Meanwhile, students on Wednesday held massive protests at Jantar Mantar in New Delhi demanding CBSE to hold a re-examination for all papers, instead of just the two. They said, besides math and economics, many other papers were leaked before the exams.
Reacting to the leak, Union Human Resource Development (HRD) Minister Prakash Javadekar said “two-three papers had been leaked on WhatsApp 30 minutes before the exams. A special investigation team has been formed to look into the matter. Delhi Police is also questioning 25 people, mostly students, who had access to the handwritten question papers. The police are hoping to work backwards to trace the source.”
He said those responsible for the leak will be caught soon.
“I also could not sleep at night. I am also a parent. The criminals who did this won’t be spared. I am sure police will catch these people soon. Let me assure that we will further improve the system and make it foolproof,” Javadekar said.
He said a new leakproof system would be put in place for conducting Board exams. The HRD Minister also spoke to Prime Minister (PM) Narendra Modi and apprised him of the situation.
It is another embarrassment for a government which has weathered storms around alleged cracks in its Aadhaar system, a database containing the personal details of more than one billion Indians.
It comes as Facebook reels from a scandal over user data and India’s ruling and main opposition parties accuse each other of mining and sharing followers’ personal information.
The row erupted this weekend after a French security researcher flagged flaws with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s personal app, alleging that users’ data was being shared without their consent.
The main opposition Congress party’s Rahul Gandhi used the exam leak to revive the attack on Modi’s administration over digital security.
“2.8 million students to take exams again! Who is accountable for this big mess?,” Congress President Rahul Gandhi posted on Twitter.
“The exam leaks destroy the hopes and futures of millions of students. Congress always protected our institutions. This is what happens when institutions are destroyed by Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). Believe me when I say, this is only the beginning,” he told media.
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said he felt sorry for the students who had to suffer on account of the paper leak.
“I am sad for the students who have to give their exams again for no fault of theirs. Responsibility should be fixed and strict action be taken against those responsible,” Kejriwal tweeted on Wednesday.
The Central Board of Secondary Education papers are crucial for students hoping to secure admission some of India’s most prestigious public universities and there was widespread anger at the leak.
—With inputs from agencies
Established in 1962, CBSE affiliates all Kendriya Vidyalayas, all Jawahar Navodaya Vidyalayas, private schools and most of the schools approved by union central. Every year, the Board conducts the class 10 and class 12 exams in March.