Crime Branch nabs IGNOU paper leak mastermind, four associates

New Delhi: The Delhi Police Crime Branch nabbed five persons in connection with the Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU) paper leak case, police said on Sunday.

The mastermind, Dev Shankar, who was a contractual employee of the IGNOU Study Centre in Bokaro Steel City, was arrested along with four of his associates – Vivek Kumar Sharma, Ankit Saxena, Mohammad Iqbal, and Johanson Hans.

A complaint was received in December last year at Neb Sarai Police Station in the national capital. It was filed by S.G. Swami who is working as Registrar at the Student Evaluation Division of IGNOU. The complaint was regarding the leakage of a question paper – MCS-033 (Advanced Discrete Mathematics) of MCA 3rd Semester.

He informed that the term end examination of MCA 3rd Semester was scheduled to be held on December 8 last year but a day before the exam, two e-mails were detected with the attachment of a question paper from two different e-mail IDs claiming that aforesaid question paper had already been leaked.

“The question paper attached with the mails was found similar to the question paper, which was scheduled to be held on the said date,” the complainant said.

Following his complaint, a case was registered under section 420 read with section 34 of the Indian Penal Code. Further, a team was constituted and after examining over 500 suspects and surveillance of their mobile phones, Shankar, the mastermind of the criminal plot, was nabbed.

During sustained interrogation, he revealed that as he was working at the centre for last 13 years, the staff had faith in him, and as a result, one key of the IGNOU Study Centre remained with him.
He further revealed that question papers of all courses are received from the headquarters in the national capital which are in sealed bags and is received by the Study Centre Coordinator.

These sealed bags are opened a day or two before the exams, the bags are opened in the office with the help of 5-6 employees including him and then they question papers are divided on the basis of date and shift wise.

“The accused being the trusted employee had access to the supervisors’ office and also keeps main gate keys with him,” the police said adding that he had the opportunity to conceal one of the envelopes containing the target question paper while arranging the sets center-wise.

Thereafter, he used to open the envelope with the help of scissors and used to photograph the question paper and repack by using Fevi Gum carefully without breaking the seal.

He used to send the question paper via WhatsApp to his associates who further sold it to the students. The question papers were sold for Rs 1500 per paper.