Patna, June 8 (IANS): With investigation into the Bihar 12th Board merit list scam gathering steam, former Bihar School Examination Board Chairman Lalkeshwar Prasad Singh is likely to be arrested, an SIT official said.
Singh has reportedly gone underground fearing his arrest after evidence hinted at his complicity in the scam in which the answer books of certain students were allegedly altered to push them up in the merit list.
Following a notice served on him by the education department, Singh resigned from his post and then went underground.
According to an SIT official: “Singh would be arrested soon for interrogation.”
Raids are being conducted to arrest Singh, the official said. “Neither is Singh available at his official bungalow nor in his official chamber,” he told IANS.
SIT has arrested Singh’s private secretary Vikas Kumar. “The SIT has interrogated Vikas as some evidences suggested that he played an important role in this scam,” the official said.
The state government appointed Patna Commissioner Anand Kishore as the new Chairman of the Board on Wednesday.
Meanwhile, the students who secured top spots in the merit list have also gone underground. The SIT team could not track students Saurabh Sreshtha, Shalini Rai, Rahul Kumar and Rubi Rai when it visited their homes in Vaishali and Muzaffarpur districts.
According to reports, the SIT of Bihar Police has pasted notices at the homes of these students, asking them to appear before the police to explain their stand.
Patna Senior Superintendent of Police Manu Maharaj, who is heading the SIT, on Wednesday said that five persons, including four staff members of two high schools, have been detained in connection with the case.
On Monday, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar had held a high-level meeting with top officials and directed the officials to lodge an FIR and probe the matter as a criminal case.
In the FIR it has been alleged that fraud was committed by VR college to influence the results, the police said. “The answer books of the toppers appeared to have been changed which makes it a case of fraud,” it stated.
Those named in the FIR include Science stream toppers Saurabh Sreshtha, Shalini Rai and Rahul Kumar, Arts topper Rubi Rai and principal-cum-director of VR College. All the toppers were students of the same college.
According to police, the SIT has detained examination centre superintendent Sail Kumari, the head clerk and a peon of GA High School at Hajipur in Vaishali.
GA High School was the exam centre for the students of VR College. All the answer books from Vaishali went to Ara and Bhabhua districts except for VR College which were examined at Rajendra Nagar High School in Patna.
The team has also detained the principal of Rajendra Nagar High School in Patna for interrogation.
The SIT team has raided some places in Vaishali and Muzaffarpur to arrest Amit Kumar alias Bachcha Rai, principal of VR College, who is allegedly the mastermind behind the scam.
Amit Kumar has been on the run since the SIT conducted searches at his college on Tuesday.
The board on Saturday had cancelled the resultS of first and third toppers in the Science stream as both failed their re-tests, and decided to give the Arts topper another chance to appear for a re-test on June 11.
The FIR stated that in 2014 many of VR College students figured in the merit list that forced the education department to review it. In 2015 as well the topper had to be changed.
The government has cancelled the recognition of VR College, Board officials said.