Following a four-month-long investigation, the Delhi Police Crime Branch Sunday claimed to have solved the IGNOU question paper leak case with the arrest of an assistant peon of the open university’s Bokaro study centre and four former students.
Police said the main accused, Dev Shankar, leaked the Advanced Discrete Mathematics paper on December 8, 2018, and a third semester BSc Programming in C++ paper on December 5, 2018. They said he sent images of the papers on WhatsApp to his accomplices and charged Rs 1,500 per question paper from them. The cases, which were registered in two different police stations in Delhi, were later transferred to the Crime Branch.
The probe initially made little progress as investigators were unable to get details from WhatsApp. “We had to question each person who received the paper on WhatsApp,” said DCP (Crime) Bhisham Singh.
Crime Branch officials said they questioned more than 500 people during the investigation and later used payment gateway details to narrow down the search. “We sent teams to Bengaluru,
UP, Delhi and finally Bokaro. Simultaneously, another team headed by an inspector-rank officer conducted the call data analysis,” said a police officer.
Police said Shankar worked at the Bokaro study centre for 13 years and had the keys to the almirah where the question papers were stored. According to officers, he used to pull out the papers while sorting them at the facility and replace them the next day after taking pictures.
“Sometimes, he would turn up early in the morning before the others and open sealed envelopes of question papers using a pair of scissors. After clicking pictures of the question papers, he would use glue to re-seal the envelope in such a way that raised no doubts,” said Additional Commissioner of Police (Crime) A K Singla.
The question papers of IGNOU exams are sent via speed post from the Bokaro study centre to Delhi.
Police said Shankar, who had complete access to the supervisor’s office, has been leaking IGNOU question papers since 2016.