Bihar toppers scam: Police to probe money

Bihar toppers scam: Police to probe money trail of accused

Patna, June 20 (IANS) The Economic Offence Unit (EOU) of Bihar Police will probe the money trail and assets of the kingpin and key accused in the Bihar toppers scam, police said on Monday.

The kingpin of Class 12 toppers scam — Amit Kumar alias Bachcha Rai — and key accused Lalkeshwar Singh, former Chairman of Bihar School Examination Board, and his wife Usha Sinha have been arrested.

Singh and his wife were arrested by the Special Investigation Team (SIT) from Varanasi on Monday.

The EOU will now track the money power play of Rai, Singh and his wife and other accused persons involved in the scam, a police official said.

“The SIT probing into the toppers scam, is taking help of EOU to reach out to their ill-gotten income and money,” he said.

The EOU will look into the properties accumulated by Bachcha Rai, Lalkeshwar Prasad Singh and his wife Usha Sinha and other accused in the case, police said.

Last week, the Special Investigation Team (SIT) during raids at Rai’s residence and premises of V.R. College, which he ran, recovered huge amounts of cash, jewellery and documents of landed property purchased by Rai.

According to reports, the V.R. College used to charge Rs 25,000-40,000 for ensuring students got first division and Rs 1 lakh and more for making them toppers in the examinations.

Rai also sold Class 12 certificates for Rs 5 lakh to those who never appeared in the examinations.

According to the SIT, so far 15 people have been arrested in the case.

The state government has set up an Economic Offences Unit (EOU) as a separate branch to deal with the cases of economic crimes.

Singh resigned from the post soon after his name cropped up in the scam. After that, he was missing nd said to be on the run.

Last Friday, the SIT moved a local court to declare Singh and his wife as proclaimed offenders.

The state police had also moved the Ministry of External Affairs to cancel their passports.

The police are likely to attach their immovable properties after the court declares them proclaimed offenders in the case.

Rai, during his questioning in police custody that ended on Sunday, said that he was close to Singh and his wife.

Rai, director-cum-principal of V.R. College in Vaishali district, surrendered before police last week.

According to reports, the SIT has found evidences that suggest Singh had a role in the Class 12 merit list scam.

Evidences also indicate the state education board’s complicity in the Class 12 toppers’ results.

Bihar toppers scam: Former board chairman, wife arrested

Patna, June 20 (IANS) Bihar School Examination Board (BSEB) former chairman Lalkeshwar Prasad Singh and his wife Usha Sinha were arrested on Monday in connection with the state Class 12 examination toppers scam, police said.

Lalkeshwar Prasad and Usha Sinha were arrested from Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh, Patna Senior Superintendent of Police Manu Maharaj, who heads the Special Investigation Team (SIT) probing the Class 12 toppers scam, said.

He said the couple will be brought here on Monday and interrogated by a separate team of the SIT.

Meanwhile, Bihar Police recovered a country-made pistol and five live cartridges from the office of Amit Kumar alias Bachcha Rai, the alleged kingpin in the toppers scam.

He was arrested on June 11 after he surrendered to the police.

Said to be a supporter of the ruling Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD), Bachha Rai is the principal of the V.R. College in Bihar’s Vaishali district.

He is alleged to have been manipulating, in collusion with the BSEB, the merit list of Class 12 examinees in favour of students who paid him bribes.

“Police have lodged a case against Bachcha Rai under the Arms Act after recovery of the pistol and five live rounds. We will now again seek his custody,” Maharaj said.

After facing flak from the opposition over the toppers’ scam, leaders of Bihar’s ruling Grand Alliance of Janata Dal-United (JD-U), Rashtriya Janata Dal JD and Congress said the guilty will not be spared.

“Whoever has committed crime and corruption cannot escape the long hands of rule of law. The guilty will be punished,” state JD-U President Vashisht Narain Singh said, reacting to the arrest of the couple.

RJD leader and Bihar’s Deputy Chief Minister Tejaswi Yadav said he has full faith in Bihar Police who have already arrested Lalkeshwar Prasad Singh and his wife Usha Sinha.

Bihar state Congress President and Bihar’s Education Minister Ashok Choudhary said the accused will face justice.

Opposition leader Jitan Ram Manjhi, however, demanded that the toppers scam should be probed by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).

Manjhi is former Bihar Chief Minister and belongs to the Hindustani Awam Morcha party.

Last week, a Patna civil court issued an arrest warrant against Lalkeshwar Prasad, who until recently headed the BSEB which conducts the Class 10 and 12 examinations in Bihar.

Lalkeshwar Prasad went underground after resigning from the board.

His wife Usha Sinha, who is former Janata Dal-United (JD-U) legislator of Bihar, was also missing since the time her name surfaced in the scam.

So far, 10 persons have been arrested in the case, the police said.

The scam surfaced after Aaj Tak TV channel showed a sting in which two Class 12 toppers could not answer even elementary questions about the subjects they ‘topped’ in.

The sting showed Rubi Rai, who topped the Class 12 exam in the Arts, saying: “Prodikal (read political) science is about cooking.”

It also showed Saurabh Shreshtha, a Science topper, saying: “Most reactive element in the periodic table is aluminium.”

Both Rubi Rai and Saurabh Shreshtha belonged to Bachha Rai’s V.R. College.

The sting suggested that education in Bihar continues to be a very dubious affair with the possibility that cheating and fraud continue on a large scale.

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