New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Thursday asked Haryana Police to quickly complete the probe into the leakage of question papers of the All India Pre-medical Entrance Test (AIPMT), while indicating that re-conducting the exam was the last option.
Directing the law enforcing agencies of Maharashtra, Odisha, Bihar, Jharkhand and other states where the answers keys of the question paper were transmitted to cooperate with Haryana Police in the investigations, a bench of Justice A.K. Sikri and Justice Uday Umesh Lalit asked police to file progress report on its investigations into the matter.
The court also asked the telecom service providers to extend cooperation to police and provide details of the calls made to and from the 70 mobile phones used in the entire operation. These 70 phones were taken a day before the AIPMT and deactivated next day, police told the court. In fact, 75 mobile phones were operationalised but 70 were used in actual operation.
The court order came in the course of the hearing of a PIL by Tanvi Sarwal along with another petition by Jahnvi Shanker seeking the re-conduct of the AIPMT in the wake of the leakage of the question paper and subsequent answer key being circulated through electronic devices.
As some of the petitioners, including parents and a doctor, urged the court to order to re-conduct the AIPMT, the court said that tracing the candidates who benefited from the leak was not difficult and if they are identified, the result would be declared after excluding them.
However, the court made it clear that it was hearing the matter with an open mind and would wait for the outcome of the investigation.
"All of you want holding of fresh exams. We are sitting with an open mind. We will hear it and decide," the court said.
Haryana Police in their status report on Thursday told the court that the kingpin, Roop Singh Dangi, was yet to be arrested but one of his accomplices, S. Srivastava, has been arrested.
Srivastava hails from Patel Nagar area of Delhi and was instrumental in arranging 700 vests fitted with electronic devices that were used by the candidates to receive the answer keys.
"During these hours (when examination is underway) you have to put up jammers and not to allow jackets," the court observed as Haryana Police officials took the court through the sequence of events leading to the leaking of the question papers and then their answer key being prepared by a group of doctors that were assembled at a resort in Rajasthan.
As some pressed for the re-conduct of the examination, Additional Solicitor General Maninder Singh, opposing it, told the court that six lakh students had appeared in the examination which was always held on the first Sunday of May on account of availability of the examination centres across the country, thereby telling the court not to mull the re-conduct option.
These seeking the re-conduct of the examination said that there were just 2,500 seats and more often it just one mark that makes or breaks the prospects of candidates.