Following an investigation for one and a half years, the police have finalised a charge sheet against 87 students of Dhaka University and 38 others over their alleged involvement in question leak and cheating their way into the university.
The charge sheet will be submitted to court after the Eid-ul-Fitr, Mohammad Shafiqul Islam, chief of the Criminal Investigation Department that ran the probe, told reporters at the CID headquarters in the capital yesterday.
The CID arrested 47 of the 125 suspects, including the alleged mastermind, Alip Kumar Biswas, a suspended assistant director of Bangladesh Krira Shikkha Protishtan (BKSP). Three more government officials and 21 DU students were among them, according to the CID.
All 47 except for one have already given statements before a magistrate, confessing their crimes, the CID chief said. Most of the suspects, including Alip, are now on bail.
The CID is now looking for 90 more DU students, who too passed the university admission tests through cheating with the help of this gang.
“A supplementary charge sheet will be submitted after we verify their names and addresses,” the official mentioned. Among those involved, some were members of Bangladesh Chhatra League, said sources in the CID.
In its very first raid on two DU dormitories, the CID arrested two BCL leaders -- Mohiuddin Rana, an assistant secretary of the BCL central committee, and Abdullah Al Mamun, theatre and debate affairs secretary of the BCL’s Amar Ekushey Hall unit -- only hours before the university’s “Gha” unit admission test on October 20, 2017. Both were expelled by the university authorities in January this year.
The DU authorities yesterday said they would take action against the accused students after getting the CID’s list. Talking to The Daily Star yesterday, DU Vice Chancellor Prof Akhtaruzzaman said, “Earlier, we had taken action against those students involved with this racket ... We are yet to get the list of 87 students. Once we get it, we will take action as per the university rules.”
In January last year, the DU authorities expelled 15 students over their involvement in leaking question papers and cheating in university admission tests.
Police tracked down the gang members following a series of arrests since October 2017 when investigators raided two DU dormitories hours before the “Gha” unit admission test. Several unscrupulous schoolteachers and office assistants used to provide this gang with question papers minutes before the exams.
Job or admission seekers were given the answers via tiny ear-pieces within a few minutes into the exams. The devices were supplied by the gang, which had brought about a hundred digital communication devices from Mumbai, the investigators said.
In 2017, this gang leaked question papers of DU’s “Gha” unit admission test from a printing press in the capital’s Indira Road.
Some of the gang members, led by Natore District Sports Officer Rakibul Hasan, used to leak questions hours before the admission tests, they mentioned.
A case was filed with Shahbagh Police Station in this connection in October 2017 under the public examinations law and the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) act.
Eminent writer and renowned academic Prof Serajul Islam Choudhury said the DU students’ involvement in such corruption reflects a degradation of morality.
Terming it very unfortunate, he said, “They are meritorious. If they do things like this, what the others will do? We don’t expect it from them. About the exam method, Prof Serajul said the multiple choice question (MCQ) format is not a right method to asses one’s merit.
“If the tests are taken in written format, the answer scripts will help us know whether the examinees properly understood the questions or not,” he added.
In its investigation, the CID found that the questions were mainly leaked in two ways: from the printing press on the night before the exams and through digital devices minutes before the tests started.
In the last four or five years, this organised gang struck deals with government job aspirants and public university admission seekers in exchange for hefty sums, and helped many to cheat their way into universities and government offices. “They amassed around Tk 20 crore,” Shafiqul said yesterday.
Molla Nazrul Islam, special superintendent of the CID, told this correspondent that back in 2015 and 2016, this gang provided leaked question papers to some admission aspirants in a house at Savar’s Palli Bidyut area.
Also last year, there were allegations of question leak in the “Gha” unit admission test. The DU authorities then decided to retake tests of around 18,500 students who had passed the “Gha” unit admission tests, citing that they found proof of the allegations.
Alip is believed to be the mastermind of the gang that leaked question papers of university admission tests and government recruitment tests through digital devices minutes before the exams.
The other ringleaders are -- suspended Janata Bank senior officer Hafizur Rahman Hafiz, Assistant Administrative Officer of Bangladesh Agricultural Development Corporation Mostafa Kamal, businessman Masudur Rahman Tajul, and job seeker Ibrahim Molla, said the CID.
Each candidate used to give the gang between Tk 4 lakh and 7 lakh, they mentioned.
Police filed a money laundering case against eight, including Hafizur and Ibrahim, with Uttara West Police Station in January this year.
Nazrul said the CID would seek a court order to seize the wealth of the suspects.