Paper leak leads to cancellation of teachers recruitment exam in Rajasthan, 44 held

JAIPUR, Dec 24: The general knowledge test for teachers recruitment in Rajasthan was cancelled on Saturday after the question paper was allegedly leaked just hours before the commencement of the exam, and 44 people have been arrested.

The paper leak gang had allegedly taken Rs 10 lakh from each candidate for illegally providing them the questionnaire for the teachers’ recruitment test conducted by the Rajasthan Public Service Commission (RPSC), police said, adding the arrested included the alleged mastermind of the scam and 37 students.

The examination will be reconducted on January 29, officials said.

“Today, on December 24, from 9 to 11 am, the general knowledge test for teacher recruitment has been cancelled as a precaution so that no injustice is done to the hardworking youths,” Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot tweeted.

The chief minister asserted the government had enacted a strict law for transparency in recruitment examinations even as the opposition BJP attacked the Congress government, claiming it was the ninth incident of paper leak, and demanded strict action against the culprits.

Police said 37 students and seven “experts” were held in Udaipur district. The alleged “mastermind” of the paper leak, Suresh Vishnoi, a resident of Jodhpur, was among those arrested.

Acting on a tip-off that the paper was leaked to candidates who were coming in a private bus to Udaipur, police teams stopped a vehicle at an intersection in Bekariya police station circle this morning, Udaipur Superintendent of Police Vikas Sharma said.

He said the candidates travelling in the bus were found to be in possession of the leaked examination paper.

“The suspected bus was stopped. At least 37 candidates were found with the leaked paper and seven others including experts and invigilators were found with other equipment. All of them hail from Jalore district and they have been arrested,” Sharma said.

He said preliminary investigation revealed that the mastermind had taken Rs 10 lakh to make the paper available to them. More arrests are expected in the matter, the SP said.

Udaipur Police in the past few days has arrested three persons who tried to appear in the teacher recruitment examination as “dummy candidates”.

In the evening, a new date for this paper was released by the RPSC.

The Commission said, “The examination of General Knowledge question paper of Senior Teacher (Secondary Education Department) Competitive Examination, 2022 ‘Group-C’ conducted by the Commission on December 24 was postponed due to unavoidable reasons.

“The said postponed examination has now been decided to be held on January 29, 2023. This paper was to be held from 9 am on Saturday.”

Chief Minister Gehlot said strict action is being taken against unscrupulous elements.

Unfortunately, paper leaking gangs have flourished across the country, due to which incidents like paper leaks happen in many states. But in Rajasthan, by taking strict action, the unscrupulous elements have been jailed, Gehlot said.

“I can feel the problems faced by the examinees, but those who come with the intention to clear the examination through unfair means will not be selected. Only hardworking youths will get their rights in Rajasthan. My appeal is that instead of getting misled by someone, you should continue your preparation,” he said.

Leader of Opposition in Rajasthan Assembly Gulab Chand Kataria said the incident is a matter of shame for the government and questioned how “the network that leaks papers for money” is being able to operate in the state.

He said it was disturbing for the students who had prepared hard for the examination.

“There is a huge nexus involved in the crime as eight papers have already got leaked and Saturday’s incident was the ninth,” Kataria said.

BJP national general secretary and Rajasthan in-charge Arun Singh said, “There is anger among youths. The cancellation of the first shift paper of the Rajasthan Senior Teacher Recruitment Exam 2022 is another proof of CM Ashok Gehlot’s failure. Fearless paper mafia dominates the entire examination system, future of youth is bleak.”

Other BJP leaders, including Union Minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat and state president Satish Poonia, also targeted the Congress government for its “failure” to tackle the paper leak mafia.

Meanwhile, Rajasthan Director General of Police Umesh Mishra said the arrests show that the state administration is committed to conducting recruitment examinations in a clean and fair manner.

In a statement, he said that like the Rajasthan Eligibility Examination for Teachers (REET), strict legal action will be taken against the paper leak gang this time too.

Mishra said that a letter is being written to the Rajasthan Public Service Commission to debar candidates who try to cheat.

On May 16, 2022, a questionnaire of the Rajasthan Police Constable Recruitment Exam was cancelled after it was leaked.

The constable recruitment paper leak occurred days after Rajasthan Eligibility Examination for Teachers (REET) had to be cancelled by the state government in February 2022. The exam was held in September 2021.

The Special Operation Group (SOG) of the Rajasthan Police was given the task to investigate both cases. (PTI)