Congress targets Modi in CBSE paper leak case, government assures strict action

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New Delhi : The Congress on Thursday targeted Prime Minister Narendra Modi over the CBSE paper leak and sought sacking of Human Resource Development Minister Prakash Javadekar as he expressed his determination to bring the guilty to book.

The Delhi Police, which has interrogated 25 people, said it was trying to reach the "point of origin" of the leak of the mathematics and economics papers for Class X and Class XII circulated through WhatsApp ahead of the examinations.

Students lodged their protest at Jantar Mantar against the Central Board of Secondary Education over the exam leak by carrying placards and raising slogans.

Breaking her silence on the paper leak, CBSE Chairperson Anita Karwal assured students that the board will soon announce fresh dates for mathematics and economics examination.

"We have taken the decision in favour of the students. Very soon we will tell them the dates (of rescheduled exams), please don't worry," Karwal told reporters.

Javadekar, who faced a volley of questions at a news conference, said that people behind the CBSE paper leak will not be spared and an internal inquiry besides the police investigation was being conducted to get to the root of the matter.

The Congress' stepped up attack on the government was led by party President Rahul Gandhi who accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi of being a "weak watchman" as there were leaks in everything.

"How many leaks? Data leak! Aadhaar leak! SSC exam leak! Election date leak! CBSE papers leak! There is leak in everything. The watchman (Narendra Modi) is weak," Gandhi said in a tweet.

He also accused the BJP of destroying institutions and said the CBSE paper leak had destroyed the hopes and future of millions of students.

"The exam leaks destroy the hopes and futures of millions of students. The Congress always protected our institutions. This is what happens when institutions are destroyed by the RSS/BJP. Believe me when I say, this is only the beginning," Gandhi said in another tweet.

Congress Communications incharge Randeep Singh Surjewala demanded that Javadekar and Karwal should be sacked for the leak of Class 10 and Class 12 question papers and sought an independent probe by a sitting high court judge into the issue.

He alleged that an "exam mafia" was running amok and the HRD Minister was busy targeting political opponents in West Bengal.

"Multiple instances of bungling and malfeasance have marred the CBSE under the Modi government," Surjewala alleged.

He said the officials in key positions at both the Staff Selection Commission (SSC) and the CBSE were "handpicked IAS officers of the Prime Minister from the time he was Gujarat Chief Minister".

"This has exposed the capture of highest academic institutions by the 'exam mafia' under the watch of (Narendra) Modi government as also absolute abdication of authority by the HRD Minister and CBSE Chairperson," he said.

He said a news report had claimed that Karwal had received a copy of the leaked Mathematics paper a day before the exam was to be conducted.

"Instead of taking extreme care in conducting the examinations, Karwal was busy camping in Ahmedabad, promoting her book on mountaineering," Surjewala alleged.

The Congress leader also alleged that the CBSE had deliberately given up the established practice of three sets of paper for students in each examination to prevent cheating, duplications and paper leaks.

"Should there not be an independent investigation in the 'Paper Leak' Scam of CBSE? Time to fix accountability and sack HRD Minister and the CBSE Chairperson," he said.

Javadekar said police were already on the job and hoped that the case will be cracked soon.

"Just like they nabbed four people in the SSC scam, I am sure it will soon catch the culprits in this case, too. Besides, we have also constituted an internal inquiry to find out who leaked the papers," the Minister said.

Javadekar said he would ensure that no "injustice" is meted out to around 16 lakh innocent students who would have to rewrite their examinations now.

"Being a parent myself, I can understand the concerns and anxiety of other parents as well as that of students. Not just the students, even I could not sleep the whole night yesterday," Javadekar said.