In a major crackdown in the Odisha Staff Selection Commission (OSSC) question paper leak case, the Odisha Police have arrested eight more persons including the mastermind in the case, Balasore SP Sagarika Nath said on Thursday.
So far, 17 persons including the mastermind have been arrested in the question paper leak case, she said.
The OSSC had conducted the main written examination for recruitment of 1008 JE (civil) Group-B posts in different offices of the government of Odisha on July 16, 2023.
However, during an investigation into a fake job racket case registered in Sahadev Khuntia police station of Balasore district, the police came to know that the JE (civil) recruitment examination question paper was leaked prior to the test. Following this, the OSSC has cancelled the main written test conducted for the post and decided to conduct a fresh exam on September 3, 2023.
Briefing media persons in Balasore, the SP said that the question paper was leaked from the printing press, which is located outside Odisha. A worker of the printing press has handed over the question paper to the mastermind, who intimated his close associates in Bihar about the question paper.
“After knowing that the question paper is from Odisha, they expanded their network to Odisha and were able to identify the candidates. They made a deal with the candidates to provide them the question paper on July 15 night or July 16 morning. In return, the candidates will have to pay 50 percent of the amount if the question paper is found to be genuine and remaining 50 percent after selection,” Nath said.
The mastermind was earlier arrested by Delhi crime branch in a similar case registered against leakage of question paper for recruitment of SI and ASI conducted by central SSC during 2013-14. They were also involved in similar cases in Madhya Pradesh and Bihar, she informed.
There was continuous communication between the mastermind and the printing press staff, whose brother belonged to the native place of the mastermind.
On July 11, the employee informed the mastermind about the availability of the OSSC question paper. On the next day, the main accused travelled to the place where the printing press is located and collected the question paper. Then, committed the crime, Nath said.
The mastermind of this crime, Vishal Kumar got selected into the Comptroller and Auditor General services through the Central Staff Selection Commission’s (SSC) Combined Graduate Level (CGL) Examination of 2013. He joined as a divisional accountant in the accountant general’s office, Patna in 2016.
Prior to this job, he was in the post of tax assistant in income tax department, Durgapur, West Bengal from mid-2014 to 2016.
The modus operandi of the racket is trying to get their hands on the question paper after the final copy is printed and before it is sent to the respective examination centres by the printing press. They then take away the original certificates of the candidates and provide them with the leaked question paper. After the exams were over, if the questions matched, the candidates were asked to pay half the amount instantly and the other half after the results were declared.
However, in this case, the initial investigation revealed that there was no transaction between the accused and the candidates, as at the time of the raid the examination was not conducted.