Bengaluru: In a twist to the ongoing II PUC final examination Chemistry question paper leak, the Education Department has clarified that no question paper was leaked at examination centers as suspected earlier. According to Ajay Sait, Principal Secretary, Primary and Secondary Education, the sealed question papers were not tampered in any way and the seal was intact on reaching the examination centres. This means that the question papers were either copied at the time of printing and packaging or during the framing of the question papers.
According to Sait, the question papers were dispatched to all examination centres from the printing unit, which is located outside the state.
Sait has informed us that from the next academic year onwards, question paper bundles will be opened in the presence of students and every examination hall will have surveillance cameras to ensure question papers remain untouched to the last moment.
He said that around 30,000 staff were involved in the examination process and if standard protocols were followed at each step, there was no way the question papers could have been leaked. “The CID and PU board will investigate further if these question papers were leaked,” he said.
He also stated that as students from the state get admission in various national and other institutes, they face problems if re-examinations are not conducted as there is always the possibility of facing problems because of the leak tag.
Why no online system?
Sait said that after the 2012 question paper leak scam, there was a proposal to deliver question papers online. The PU Department does not have any issue related to printers, but with power in various centres. “But this system will be considered seriously,” he said.
Experts call for speedy disposal of cases
If the PU board continues to grapple with question paper leaks of its examinations in the state the reason is simple : Those responsible have got away with it so far.
Even three-and- a- half years after three question papers of the II PUC final examinations were leaked in 2012, no one has been punished for the crime.
While 23 people, including six employees of various government departments, were found guilty by the CID which investigated the leaks, none of the accused have so far received any kind of punishment.
“These 23 people played with the future of lakhs of students, but have still not been brought to justice. What we need is a separate prosecution wing for such cases and a time frame to try them,” says a retired officer of the PU board.
That the government continues to treat the crime lightly is evident as despite the public outcry against this year's Chemistry question paper leak, a case has been registered only under IPC sections 418, 420 and 381 beside various provisions of the Karnataka Education Act, which could see the guilty get a couple of years in prison at the most.
“This is hardly adequate considering the damage they do,” points out an officer.
“A leaked science question paper can fetch upto Rs 10 lakh and four papers, Rs 40 lakhs. Those involved are usually interested in multi- question paper leaks for competitive examinations and earn crores of rupees from just a few examinations. B ut even if the charges are proved against them they only get a few years in prison,” rues an officer, regretting the lack of will to impose the Goonda Act against the culprits as demanded by the PU board following the 2012 question paper leak.
Had the accused in the case been booked under the Act, they would have been denied bail for at least a year, say officials of the state primary and secondary education department.
CID requests public to help solve mystery
The CID officials probing the leakage of Chemistry question paper of second PUC have requested the students, parents, teachers and administrators of colleges, officials connected with the PU Board Exams to share information with the CID.
The CID has pressed into service experienced investigators including Cyber Crime and Technical Experts to investigate the case from all angles. However the CID officials stated that as the PUC examinations were still going on, any questioning of students attending the exam, was being considered with utmost sensitivity. We request the public to share with CID any information in full confidence to us. The information shared by you will be kept confidential,” they added.
“It is being seen that during the investigations that information pertaining to the leaked question papers was shared via MMS, WhatsApp, Facebook, e-mail etc. It is hereby advised to one and all who may have received, shared such information on any medium to ensure that the same is ‘not deleted’ at any cost. Any information if found deleted with a view to hamper the investigations, the person responsible will be charged,” the police warned.
The police have requested to share confidential information on phone, Whatsapp or E-mail only, and not on Facebook or Twitter.