The back-to-back paper leaks in Rajasthan are an open secret now! There have been instances when paper leaks have been reported even during Internet suspension in Rajasthan.
The desert state tops the unemployment index in second position with a 21.1% unemployment rate as recorded in January this year by the Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy (CMIE). With a high unemployment rate, the state has also climbed the crime records in the last few years.
On an average, Rajasthan has witnessed around three paper leaks every year since 2019, leaving around 40 lakh students in the doldrums.
During a probe police officials found that the rate of the leaked papers has been varying anywhere between Rs 5 lakh and Rs 15 lakh, depending on the jobs for which the exams were conducted.
The recently arrested mastermind of the paper leak, Bhupendra Saran, said that he paid Rs 40 lakh to a school teacher to buy the paper which was sold to students for Rs 5 lakh each.
Overall, around twenty six instances of paper leaks have been reported between 2011 and 2022. Fourteen of them have been reported in the last four years alone in Rajasthan.
The state seems to be becoming the paper leak capital of India.
Among the exams cancelled due to paper leaks are the recruitment exam for grade-III librarians which was cancelled in December 2019 over a leaked question paper. It affected nearly 55,000 candidates who had applied for 700 vacant posts.
Next in line, the question paper of the sub-inspector recruitment examination was leaked in September 2021 and the Bikaner police arrested seven persons for allegedly leaking the paper.
In the same month, Internet across Rajasthan was suspended to prevent cheating during the REET-levels I and II examinations. The move sparked a huge controversy.
However, the exam was cancelled after four months following allegations of irregularities in the REET-level II exams and protests by the Opposition. The Congress government was left red-faced when a police investigation revealed that one of the accused was the Jaipur exam coordinator and that the question paper had been leaked from the education department office days before the examination, long before the government suspended the Internet to prevent irregularities. Over 25 lakh candidates had applied for REET-levels I and II examinations for around 31,000 vacant posts.
The state government faced embarrassment next time again when the government installed mobile phone jammers at examination centres and introduced biometric identification to prevent irregularities in the May 2022 constable recruitment examination. However, one exam paper was cancelled after it was leaked and the exam got rescheduled. Around 1.6 lakh candidates were affected.
In January 2022, the BJP alleged the involvement of the Rajiv Gandhi Study Circle, an organisation with Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot as a patron, in the paper leaks.
As the involvement of people associated with coaching centres drew flak for the state government, the latter sent bulldozers to demolish a multi-storey building in Jaipur where a private coaching institute was being run by Suresh Dhaka and Bhupendra Saran, the two main accused in the second grade teacher recruitment examination question paper leak case.
This bulldozer action, which was in sharp contrast to the Chief Minister’s earlier position, was strongly criticised across circles as Gehlot had criticised similar actions in BJP-ruled states, asserting that no CM, not even the Prime Minister, had the right to demolish the house of an accused till the charge was proved.
Next, the Gehlot government passed the stringent Rajasthan Public Examination (Measures for Prevention of Unfair Means in Recruitment) Bill, 2022, in March last year. Under this law, all offences will be cognizable, non-bailable and non-compoundable. Besides provisions for imprisonment of up to 10 years and fines up to Rs 10 crore, it also empowers investigating officers to confiscate properties of the accused with prior permission from the state.
The Rajasthan Berozgar Ekikrit Mahasangh said that around 25-30 lakh youth are trying for government jobs in the state. Association president Upen Yadav says, “Youngsters are extremely angry and troubled due to repeated instances of question paper leaks. We are demanding life imprisonment for those involved in these crimes. The government should transfer these cases to the CBI if the state police fail to investigate.”
In his recent budget, which was the last budget to be presented before the elections, Gehlot had announced the creation of a special task force to prevent question paper leaks. The Congress hopes that measures taken by it against the accused will prevent the youth from deserting the party.
At a time when the unemployment rate in Rajasthan is the second highest in India, all eyes are now focused on how the state government fights the menace of paper leaks which has spoiled the future of lakhs of students.
This is because when cancelled exams are rescheduled, it is not always possible for the aspirants to reappear for them and hence they have been losing many such chances.
Meanwhile, amid the series of paper leaks in Rajasthan, the state government was once again left red-faced after a gang was busted solving papers even before the commencement of Rajasthan Eligibility Examination for Teachers (REET) on Saturday.
These include 19 boys and 10 girls, all of whom have been taken into custody. The question papers received from them are being checked to find out if they match with Saturday’s question papers. Internet services have been snapped in seven districts of the state in a hurry following the latest leak.
There are also reports of dummy candidates being caught in Jaipur.
The following exams were cancelled due to paper leaks:
Librarian Recruitment 2018 – Recruitment exam in December 2019 cancelled due to paper leak
JEN Civil Degree 2018 – December 2020 exam cancelled due to paper leak
REET Level-2 2021 – This recruitment exam held in September 2021, cancelled after about four months following paper leak
Constable Recruitment – March 2018 exam paper leaked, exam cancelled
Constable Recruitment 2022 – Second shift paper leaked in May 2022, paper cancelled and re-examination
High Court LDC Recruitment – Recruitment exam paper leaked in March 2022, exam cancelled
SI Recruitment 2022 – 12 people arrested for paper leak, exam not cancelled
Medical Officer 2021 – The first two times the exam was conducted online due to disturbances. Later the offline exam was conducted
CHO Recruitment 2022 – Case filed for paper leak after recruitment
Vanrakshak Recruitment 2020 – One shift paper viral on social media, exam cancelled, re-examination
Electricity Department Technical Helper Recruitment 2022 – Examination cancelled at six centres
Second Grade Teacher Recruitment Exam 2022 – General Knowledge paper leaked, exam cancelled
Source : Daji World