Mumbai: HSC accounts paper leaked on WhatsApp

The images of the same subject's paper had been circulated last year too; the Mumbai Division of the Maharashtra State Board is refraining from calling it a paper leak before a thorough investigation

A snapshot of the Book Keeping and Accountancy paper was found being circulated on WhatsApp on Friday morning after 10.30 am, while the Higher Secondary Certificate (HSC) examination began at 11 am. But the Mumbai Division of the Maharashtra State Board is refraining from calling it a paper leak before a thorough investigation is conducted. The examination was hence continued as per schedule after which in the evening the Board approached the cyber crime wing of the police for investigation.

Also read: HSC exam paper 'leaked' on Whatsapp

Students are not allowed to carry their bags or phones inside the examination hall. pic for representation
Students are not allowed to carry their bags or phones inside the examination hall. pic for representation

On Friday at 11 am, this reporter received the snapshot of the question paper on WhatsApp. Immediately the Mumbai division of Maharashtra State Board of Secondary and Higher Secondary Education (MSBSHSE) was informed about it. As the examination had already begun, it was conducted as per schedule. But the state board officials crosschecked the question paper with the images and found it to be the same.

Board says
Duttatray Jagtap, chairman of the Mumbai division of the Maharashtra State Board, told mid-day, "As of now it does not appear to be a major paper-leak because of the timing. Students are already in the exam hall by 10.30 am and question papers are distributed to them at 10.50 am while they begin to write answers at 11 am. The question paper image is definitely of the same paper. But as of now there is no way to know if students have been able to get it before the exam in order to prepare accordingly."

He continued, "Hence after confirming that the images on WhatsApp were of the original question paper, we informed the head office of MSBSHSE. We were told to approach the Cyber Crime Cell to understand the seriousness of the issue, based on which further decisions will be taken."

Siddheshwar Chandekar, secretary of the Mumbai division of the state board told mid-day, "Question paper bundles are opened in exam centres at 10.30 am. Based on timings of the messages on WhatsApp, it appears to have happened after that. In that case it does not amount to a major paper leak issue that calls for re-examination. However the final decision will be taken after the Cyber Crime Cell completes the investigation." Meanwhile, students have been asked not to panic and calmly appear for remaining papers.

Studentspeak
A student who appeared for the paper on Friday, said, "I was not aware of any such image before the examination. This just adds to the pressure on some of us, who were genuinely preparing for the examination throughout the academic year."

Also read: Police complaint filed over HSC paper 'leak'

A professor who teaches the subject, said, "This happened last year as well. This shows lapses in the way the examination is being conducted by the state board. This is unfair to so many students."

Policespeak
Police Inspector, Cyber Crime Cell, Navi Mumbai police, Pratibha Shendge, said, "We have not received any complaint from the board as yet. As and when we receive it we will start investigation."

The paper that is doing the rounds
A Board official said question paper bundles are opened in exam centres at 10.30 am. Based on timings of the messages on WhatsApp, it appears to have happened after that. In that case it does not amount to a major paper leak issue.

The paper on WhatsApp
The paper on WhatsApp

Student caught with images
A police complaint has been filed with the Kashimira Police station against a candidate who was appearing for the HSC examination on Friday. The student, who was appearing at an examination centre in Mira Road was caught with a mobile phone, on which the images of the question paper were found. Siddheshwar Chandekar, said, “A candidate was caught with a mobile phone inside an examination hall in Mira Road with similar images on his phone. Following this a police complaint has been made to the nearby police station.” When contacted, Senior Police Inspector Anil Kadam of the Kashimira Police Station, said, “We have registered the complaint on Friday evening at around 7 pm after the exam centre head approached us.”

Gangadhar Mamhane, Chairman of the MSBSHSE head office in Pune, said, “I have instructed Mumbai division to approach Cyber Crime Cell to know the seriousness of the issue.”

Last year too
Interestingly, there was a similar issue with the same paper last year. Then also snapshots of the paper were seen on WhatsApp minutes before the examination. It was not considered as a paper leak due to the timing. But several questions were raised on the supervision at exam centres.

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