No re-exam for II PU biology paper, says minister

Primary and Secondary Education Minister Visveshwara Hegde Kageri on Friday said there was no proposal before the government to conduct a re-examination for the II PU biology paper.

Kageri told reporters after holding a meeting with top officials of the Education department that the police were investigating complaints that the question paper of the biology examination held on Thursday had leaked. “The police have arrested four persons so far and investigation is on... However, there is no proposal to conduct a re-examination,” Kageri said.

The minister neither denied nor admitted that the question papers seized by the police from a person at a hotel in Tumkur on Thursday matched with the original.

He said paper leak rumours every year had become a menace. The government is contemplating invoking the Goonda Act against culprits involved in question paper leaks and also against persons who dupe students by selling papers claiming them to be original, the minister said.

Previously arrested

Kageri pointed out that Shivakumar Swamy of Gubbi taluk, who was apprehended by the police on Friday in connection with the paper leak case, had previously been arrested for the same crime. “These culprits apply for bail, come out of custody and continue with their crime. More stringent laws are required against them,” Kageri said.

He said the Education department was consulting the Home department on whether the stringent provisions of the Goonda Act can be invoked against them. It will also initiate examination reforms based on its previous experience, he said.

As a precautionary measure, the pre-university department has formed additional squads to keep a vigil on photocopying centres, tuition centres and cybercafes till late night. These squads will be in addition to the regular vigilance and flying squads deployed during examinations.

In every taluk, two special squads will move around keeping a vigil near examination centres for any suspicious activities. The squads will have a videographer to record their movements. They will also patrol tuition centres and cybercafes till late night.

The squads will seek copies of ‘model question papers’, if any, provided by tuition centres to their students and alert the police in case they comes across any malpractice, Kageri said.

Two persons arrested

The Central Crime Branch (CCB) police on Friday picked up a retired government schoolteacher from Bangalore in connection with the alleged leak of question papers of second year PU examinations and handed him over to the Tumkur district crime investigation bureau.

“We acted on a tip-off from Tumkur police, picked up Shivakumar Swamy from his home in Nandini Layout and handed him over to the Tumkur police who are probing the matter,” Joint Commissioner of Police (crime east division) S Murugan said.

The CCB sleuths suspected Swamy of having links with the PU question paper committee. He owned a tutorial centre and targeted second year students for money. He used to assure them that he would get them question papers in advance and would collect huge sums of money. He started the tutorial four years ago and soon built a wide network across the State, said sources.

The Tumkur police arrested two persons on Thursday in connection with the biology paper leak and recovered Rs 1.5 lakh in cash, a motorbike, a car and a bundle of question papers. Mallesh and Devendra gave valuable information, which helped the CCB arrest Swamy.

21 debarred

Meanwhile, 21 students were debarred for malpractices in Bijapur, Belgaum, Gulbarga, Koppal, Bagalkote, Raichur, Bangalore Rural, Gadag, Dharwad and Chikkaballapur districts.

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