PATNA: The mystery of the 42,500 answer sheets of Class 10 students that disappeared from an evaluation centre of the Bihar School Examination Board may just have been solved. A scrap dealer arrested today by the police has allegedly told the authorities that he had bought the answer sheets as scrap for Rs 8,500.
He and an associate had paid the money to a peon of the Gopalganj school where the papers had been kept for safe keeping after evaluation, the police said. The peon had let them into the school one night with a tempo and the answer sheet bundled out.
Officials of Bihar’s examination board discovered that the answer papers were missing earlier this week when an inspection team was sent to cross-check the answer sheets of student who could top the examination.
The practice of verifying the answer sheets was started after some students who topped the school exam could not answer basic questions about the subjects. A probe later revealed a scam they had paid money to clear the exam.
But when they opened the room in SS Girls’ Senior Secondary School in Gopalganj district, about 150 km from state capital Patna, the papers were missing.
Over 200 bags that contained the papers were found later on Friday near the school, empty.
The board, which was slated to announce the Class 10 exam results this week, has put off the announcement by six days or so.
It is not clear if the board will stick to the June 26 date that it had announced. This date was based on the expectation that the police would be able to recover the answer sheets in a few days. The Gopalganj police, however, hasn’t been yet succeeded in this endeavor yet.
According to the police, it is yet not clear if the peon had sold the papers to the scrap dealers under instructions from someone else.
A red-faced state education minister Krishna Nandan Prasad Verma had earlier claimed that the crime was the work of some elements who wanted to embarrass the school board and the Nitish Kumar government.
The high court had also taken note of the media reports about the missing answer sheets and sought a report from the state government.