UP TET paper leak: 29 arrested so far; Yogi Adityanath invokes NSA, Gangster Act against culprits

The exam, which was set to be taken by close to 20 lakh candidates, will now be held next month and students will neither have to fill a form nor pay fees again

The Uttar Pradesh Teacher Eligibility Test (UPTET) scheduled to be held on Sunday was cancelled after a question paper for the exam was allegedly leaked.

In a statement, the Uttar Pradesh government said 29 people have been arrested in this connection while Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath said he will invoke the National Security Act and Gangster Act against the culprits.

Close to 20 lakh candidates were to appear for UPTET on Sunday that was scheduled to be conducted at exam centres across 75 districts. They will now appear in a rescheduled exam, to be held within a month by the Uttar Pradesh Basic Education Board (UPBEB) and the government will bear the entire expenditure on the re-examination, said Basic Education Department Additional Chief Secretary Deepak Kumar.

The network

Of the 29 arrests, 16 are made from Prayagraj. They include Satya Prakash Singh, an assistant teacher at a primary school in the city’s Shankargarh area. When searched, he was found to have the solved question paper in his WhatsApp. Rajendra Patel, the alleged mastermind of the whole operation, and Chaturbhuj Singh, one of the key players, were also among those arrested from Prayagraj, according to the government statement.

Besides, police arrested other members of the gang, including one Sunny Singh, who was instrumental in sourcing solvers from Bihar, the statement said.

Four persons were arrested from Lucknow district and one each from Kaushambi, Ayodhya, and Ambedkarnagar. Three persons were arrested from the Shamli district. These three had procured 10 copies of the question paper for Rs 5 lakh and had taken Rs 50,000 from 50-60 candidates each to give them access to the papers for reading and memorising. Search is on for the rest of the members of the gang, the government said.

From the arrested persons, photocopies of the question papers, mobile phones, pen drives, notes and other items were recovered, the UP government said.

Government action

“A question paper was leaked. I issued an order to cancel the examination and arrest the racketeers. Instructions were also given to conduct the exam within a month, and that no candidate should be charged additional fee,” Adityanath said addressing a function in Deoria district on Sunday.

He said orders were given to transport the students back to their home towns in UPSRTC buses free of cost on the basis of their admit cards. “Those who have committed this act should listen that cases will be registered against them under the Gangster Act and the National Security Act,” he said.

Later in a Hindi tweet, the chief minister said properties will be seized by the government of those involved in the act.

Additional Director General (ADG) Law and Order Prashant Kumar said the matter will be probed by the UP STF and people or organisations involved in it will not be spared.

Adityanath in a tweet said, “The state government is standing with the candidates of UPTET, and a re-exam will be held in a transparent manner within one month.” “Those who have played with the future of our young brothers and sisters will not be spared. People who have caused inconvenience to you will definitely be punished. Your government is committed to conduct the exams in a fair and transparent manner,” he said in another tweet.

Opposition reaction

No sooner had the news of the paper leak broke than the Opposition leaders slammed the government.

Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav said such incidents have become a norm under BJP’s rule in the state. “Cancellation of the UPTET examination due to the leak of the question paper is like playing with the future of nearly 20 lakh aspirants. Paper leaks, cancellation of the examination is common in the BJP government,” he said in a Hindi tweet. “Corruption in education in UP is at an all-time high. The unemployed will usher in a revolution, and there will be a change in 2022,” he said.

Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra too alleged that corruption in education and recruitment has become common under the BJP.

BSP chief Mayawati in a tweet in Hindi criticised the BJP and also the previous SP government for such incidents and asked for a high-level probe into the matter from the current government.
“The UP government must take this incident very seriously, get a high-level probe done, ensure that the guilty are punished, and make concrete arrangements to reconduct this examination. This is the demand of the BSP,” she said.

AIMIM chief Asaduddin Owaisi said that because of the Adityanath government’s failure, the future of nearly 20 lakh youths has suffered a setback.

BJP MP Varun Gandhi has demanded action against the education mafia and their political patrons. “UPTET exam paper leak is like playing with the future of lakhs of youth. Action against small fish of this swamp will not work. Government should take strict action against the education mafia and their political patrons. Most of the educational institutions are owned by political influencers, when will action be taken against them?” tweeted the BJP MP in Hindi.

With input from agencies

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