The CBI has arrested the alleged mastermind behind the 2017 Staff Selection Commission examination paper leak along with his two accomplices, officials said Thursday.
During recent searches at four locations — one in Delhi and three in Ghaziabad, the agency found incriminating documents related to the case and arrested Akshay Kumar Malik, who allegedly got the paper and his accomplices Sandeep Mathur and Dharmendra who used to find gullible candidates ready to shell out money for it, they said.
The trio was produced before a court and remanded in police custody till June 10.
“Akshay was the mastermind of the scam and used to leak the paper while the other two used to lure candidates. They are private persons and are not linked to Sify Technology Pvt. Ltd.,” CBI sources told ANI.
“The CBI had on May 22, 2018 registered a Regular Case (RC) against certain private persons including candidates, officials of the Noida (Uttar Pradesh)-based private technology company and unknown officials of the SSC and other unknown persons on the allegations of criminal conspiracy, criminal misconduct by the public servants and cheating by personation by using computer resources with regard to conduct of online CGL Tier-II Examination, 2017,” the agency said in a statement.
Criminal charges against the culprits
The charges mentioned were 120-B (criminal conspiracy), 420 (cheating) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), section 13(2) read with 13(1)(d) of the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988 and section 66D of the Information Technology Act.
Other people arrested
The CBI had registered an FIR against 17 people, including 10 employees of Sify Technologies Pvt Ltd, in connection with the question paper leak, officials have said.
Number of candidates took the CGLE-2017 exam
In the CGLE-2017, more than 30 lakh candidates across the country had applied for just over 8,000 vacancies, Minister of State for Personnel Jitendra Singh had said.
Out of these, around 1.5 lakh candidates were short-listed after the Tier-1 exam, he had said.
The examination papers were set in such a way that an examinee got the questions in a certain sequence, they said.
The candidates used remote access software for solving their question papers by means of outside help from unknown persons, they said.
It is alleged that the paper of the second tier of the Combined Graduate Level (CGL) examination, 2017, which took place on February 21, 2018, and its answer key were allegedly leaked and became viral on social media before the examination began.
Sant Prasad Gupta being head of content team of Sify got prepared the question papers of CGL examination, 2017 and he was its custodian, the CBI FIR has alleged.
It was found that the question paper was uploaded by the central examination back-end team of Sify in Chennai between 9.30 am and 10 am.
The question pack activation passwords were then sent to site supervisors who communicated to examination controller and venue specific question papers were downloaded and activated using examination interface.
They alleged that the enquiry pertaining to answer key dated February 21, 2018 revealed that this answer key got viral on social media at 10.10 am on February 21, 2018 before the scheduled time of exam, 10.30 am.
For conducting this examination, SSC had executed an agreement with the Noida-based Private Technologies Company for outsourcing.
According to the agreement, the CBI said, the private company was entrusted to conduct the computer mode examination and was also responsible for identification and preparation of test centres across India, preparation of adequate number of questions for making sets of the question paper, capturing biometric and photograph of candidate’s registration and CCTV recording of each examination lab.
The company was also responsible to block the computers of the candidates from any access to all possible web resources for browsing, chatting, said the CBI.
It was further alleged that the computers of some candidates were remotely accessed by unknown persons with the help of software which was not supposed to be installed in the Personal Computers of the candidates. These candidates were allegedly helped by the unknown persons (agent/solvers) in solving questions, the CBI said.
“It was also alleged that screen shots of some of the questions of the CGL Tier-II Exam, 2017 were leaked on social media and had gone viral. The answer keys of the Quantitative Ability (QA) examination dated February 21, 2018 were also allegedly found on social media such as on the Facebook page of SSCTUBE at 10.10 a.m. on February 21, 2018, while this examination was scheduled to be held at 10.30 a.m. on that day.
“Searches were also conducted on May 23, 2018 at various premises of the identified labs and official premises of the private company and the accused in Delhi, Noida, Mumbai, Chennai, Shimla, Jaipur and Patna,” the agency said.
The CBI had earlier conducted preliminary enquiry on a complaint from the SSC on the allegations of malpractices in the recruitment examinations for CGL (Tier-II), including alleged leakage of question papers, deficiency observed in the conduct of the examination by the service provider and other related issues.