Five days before Madhyamik 2003, sleuths from the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) recovered several blank marksheets, admit cards and certificates from a Tiljala house late on Tuesday. They failed to arrest the kingpin of the racket, but managed to net a tout, identified as Rambabu Singh.
Sources in the CID said the documents have been sent to experts to check if they were genuine. The police believe that the marksheets were meant to be sold to students for a fee, with fake marks filled in.
Police said with Madhyamik and Higher Secondary examinations round the corner, sleuths had fanned out for leads on the racket. “A follow-up of earlier cases led us to a tout in Tiljala, Rambabu Singh, who had stocked a pile of fake marksheets, admit cards and certificates in his house,’’ said special superintendent of police, CID, Manoj Malaviya. Detectives surrounded the house and took him into custody. “Initially, we detained him for interrogation. He was later arrested,’’ Malaviya added.
Investigations revealed that Singh is part of a larger gang, which procures marksheets, admit cards and certificates and prints copies of them. “We are not sure whether they get the original documents from the Board of Secondary Education itself or from printers engaged by the Board,” a sleuth said.
“Singh’s job was to network with students and collect money for the marksheets and admit cards,’’ a CID inspector said.
The arrested tout confessed during interrogation that the leader of the examination racket lives in Howrah. He also named another person, who hails from Garia, as being part of the gang. Police raided both places on Wednesday but failed to net either one of them.
Quoting from investigations, CID officers said the kingpin is “well-connected with a section of Board officials” and manages to get a few blank marksheets and admit cards from them. He passes on the original documents to a press for copies. “Unless we can arrest him, we can’t pin the blame on any Board official,’’ Malaviya admitted.
The police are also looking for a couple of printing press-owners who, they suspect, play a vital part in the duplication of the documents. Preliminary investigation revealed that the documents seized from Singh’s house “looked very original”.
The crackdown comes after senior education department officers spoke to additional director-general of police, CID, S.I.S. Ahmed recently, and requested him to step up efforts to solve the bust the marks racket. Police said last year, they had rounded up a person on charges of supplying fake Madhyamik marksheets to students for a fee.
Board president Dibyendu Hota, while welcoming the police swoop, claimed that his department had already urged the cops to keep a closer watch on racketeers. “Our senior officers have held detailed discussions with the police and we are coordinating efforts to bust this racket,’’ he added.