Exam scam takes on political hues

Tejaswi tweets pictures of Bachcha Rai and Union minister Giriraj Singh

By Ramashankar
  • Published 13.06.16

Patna, June 12: Deputy chief minister Tejaswi today tweeted pictures of Bachcha Rai, principal of Vaishali's Vishun Roy College which is at the centre of the Intermediate exam scam, with Union minister Giriraj Singh and top police sources told The Telegraph that Bachcha had revealed he was working to set up a medical college with Giriraj's "assistance".

The police officer, who is part of the investigation, said Giriraj had attended events to honour the "bright" students of Bachcha's college and was in constant touch with him.

Giriraj, minister of state for micro, small and medium enterprises, could not be reached for comments despite repeated attempts. He neither responded to phone calls nor replied to a text message. A confidant of Giriraj in Nawada, his parliamentary constituency, rubbished the allegations and said: "Attending functions is part of social life for a politician."

The senior police officer said Bachcha had told the cops that he was planning to set up a deemed university, and had approached the Union minister. "I met him several times both in Patna and Delhi and updated him about the project on the medical college," the officer quoted Bachcha as telling the cops.

Bachcha, who was arrested yesterday and produced before court and remanded to two weeks' judicial custody today, has been booked on charges of cheating and forgery. During a search of his office last night, the police seized photographs of him with Giriraj.

One of the pictures of Giriraj Singh (left) and Bachcha Rai that deputy chief minister Tejaswi posted on Twitter on Sunday

Tejaswi posted four pictures showing Giriraj with Bachcha, and tweeted: "Sharing pics of aid of toppers scam culprit& renowned central minister. Hope few media houses wil not hsitate to do character assassination."

Bachcha had earlier been shown sitting beside RJD chief Lalu Prasad and his elder son Tej Pratap at a party rally at Hajipur in Vaishali district during the 2015 Assembly polls.

After the exam scam hit headlines, Lalu had demanded stern action against Bachcha, saying: "Police should initiate stern action against him for committing an abominable offence."

The police investigation has also revealed that the examination centre of Vishun Roy College was shifted to GA Inter School from Gurukul High School (both in Hajipur, Vaishali) - on the oral orders of the then Bihar School Examination Board (BSEB) chairman Lalkeshwar Prasad Singh - now an absconding accused in the scam - and a senior official of the education department.

The fact has come to the fore in a file noting made by Vaishali district magistrate Rachana Patil.

An investigating officer said a file pertaining to the reason for the last-minute change in the examination centre was seized from the office of Vaishali district education officer Satya Narain Prasad, who the police's special investigation team (SIT) has quizzed.

A source said that the examination superintendent and all the invigilators at the GA High School were also shifted after the intervention of BSEB and district administration officials.

"We have sufficient evidences to show the nexus among the officials of the education department, BSEB, and Vishun Roy College," the source said.

Patna senior superintendent of police (SSP) Manu Maharaaj, who is heading the SIT, said two more suspects, Sandip Kumar Jha and Ajit Shaktiman, were arrested today, taking the total arrest tally in the case to eight.

Ajit, a temporary (ad hoc) teacher at Patna College, knew Lalkeshwar since when the latter was posted in the college's geography department, police sources said. Sandip, a teacher of Sanskrit in Tilka Manjhi University, Bhagalpur, was deputed at the BSEB office in Patna.

"Sandip and Ajit used to manage examination centres for selected Intermediate colleges at the behest of the then BSEB chairman Lalkeshwar," Maharaaj said.

Asked about allegations that Bachcha has a diary containing names of politicians and bureaucrats, the SSP said the role of influential people in the scam would be verified. He also said Bachcha had denied direct contact with Lalkeshwar, but the police have evidence to prove otherwise.

"The two (Lalkeshwar and Bachcha) were in regular touch with each other on their mobile phones. We have obtained call details to substantiate the charges," the SSP said, adding that Bachcha used to visit Lalkeshwar's office and residences.

Lalkeswhar's wife Usha Singh, a former JDU MLA who is principal of the Ganga Devi Mahila College in Patna, has been made a non-FIR accused.

"She is absconding after the name of her husband came to the fore," the SSP told The Telegraph.

During last night's raid on Vishun Roy College, the police seized documents, bank passbooks and Rs 18 lakh cash. The principal's office has been sealed and armed policemen deployed at the college. The police have also sought the assistance of the economic offences unit to find out if Bachcha and his family members had amassed wealth through fraudulent means.

Additional reporting by Amit Bhelari in Patna