Hours after Assam director general of police (DGP) GP Singh asked the key accused in the HSLC paper leak case Kumud Rajkhowa to surrender voluntarily, he surrendered before the Lakhimpur police station on March 17 evening.
According to the report, Kumud Rajkhowa surrendered at Panigaon police station following which he was brought to Lakhimpur police station.
Currently, he is being brought to Guwahati after court production in Lakhimpur by the CID.
Kumud Rajkhowa, a headmaster of Daflakata High School in Lakhimpur, had allegedly leaked the question paper of the General Science of High School Leaving Certificate (HSLC) examination in a WhatsApp group of his school on March 12, ahead of the examination for the subject to be held on March 13.
The question paper of the General Science of HSLC exam conducted by the Board of Secondary Education Assam (SEBA) was leaked on social media platforms in Dibrugarh, Lakhimpur, Majuli and Dhemaji a day ahead of the exam scheduled to be held on March 13.
The Criminal Investigation Department (CID), which has been entrusted to probe into the case, has nearly cracked the case and arrested 31 people, including 13 children (in conflict with the law) in connection with the case.
“Rajkhowa has been absconding since the day the case was handed over to the CID on March 14,” Singh said addressing a press conference here on Friday.
“Rajkhowa has received the question papers of General Science and Assamese subjects from one Pranab Dutta, centre-in-charge of Luhit Khabalu HS School, Majuli,” the DGP said.
The DGP gave a clean chit to the SEBA and said that no official of the board was involved in the leakage of paper leak.
“So far no evidence was found against any official of SEBA. Our investigation is on,”” Singh said.
Three of the arrested persons have a link with exam centres in Guwahati, he said.
“13 children were also arrested in conflict against law. We are compelled to arrest them to get the lead in the case. Without their arrest, we couldn’t crack the case,” Singh said.
“The children will be produced in the Juvenile Justice Board, where they can be examined as per the orders,” Singh also said.
“Another key accused Pranab Dutta, centre-in-charge of Luhit Khabalu HS School, Majuli was already arrested by the CID and he confessed to the crime,” The DGP said.
The centre-in-charge Pranab Dutta had received altogether 29 sets of question papers. But he had managed to put one set of each question paper out of sight and later circulated it.
“It was revealed during the investigation that Pranab Dutta had circulated the question paper to Kumud Rajkhowa, who shared the paper in the WhatsApp group of his school. Rajkhowa also circulated the question paper to some other people in exchange for money who paid him through UPI ID,” Singh claimed.
“We are looking for the people who paid Rajkhowa through UPI ID for the question paper. It will take some time,” Singh also said.
“We got the lead from the wife of Kumud Rajkhowa who told us that the question paper was circulated by Pranab Dutta. Later we also detained another teacher Prasanta Das who also confirmed Pranab Dutta’s involvement,” Singh further said.
“The students have been found to have used e-wallets for making payments to acquire the question paper,” he said.
In addition to this, Pranab Dutta also circulated a question paper of the Assamese subject to Kumud Rajkhowa, which was stated to be burnt down.
The DGP said the remnants of burnt question papers have been recovered from the campus of the rented accommodation of Pranab Dutta, and those are being sent for forensic test. There were question papers of both General Science and Assamese, he said.
The chain through which the papers were leaked and circulated has been established, the DGP claimed.
“We have received 3-day custody of the adult accused and their investigation is in progress”, Singh added.
On March 12, SEBA issued a notification cancelling the General Science paper of the HSLC examination scheduled for 9 am on Monday after images of a handwritten version of the question paper began doing the rounds.