HC registrar arrested in paper leak scam

CHANDIGARH: Punjab and Haryana high court registrar (recruitment) Kumar was arrested by the special investigation team of the UT police on Thursday night in connection with the Haryana Civil Service (Judicial) case.
The alleged mastermind of the paper leak, 46-year-old Sunita, a lawyer, was arrested in November. Chandigarh‘s Sector-3 police had booked and Balwinder along with , a candidate who took examination, in the paper leak case on September 19.

Ravi Kumar, superintendent of police (crime), UT police, confirmed Balwinder‘s arrest and added that the Punjab and Haryana high court had been informed about the arrest.

Balwinder is at present posted at a Ropar court. The UT police team had gone to inform the Ropar sessions judge about the arrest.

Sunita was arrested in Delhi‘s Najafgarh area on November 9 as “she had stopped cooperating” with the special investigating team. Additional district and sessions judge JS Sidhu dismissed his bail plea, stating there was incriminating evidence against the accused and that it was a grievous offence.

Role of Balwinder Sharma

On September 15, 2017 the Punjab and Haryana high court had recommended the suspension of Balwinder, registrar (recruitment) who had acquaintance with one of the woman candidates and the main accused in the paper leak case.

Sharma‘s suspension order was passed by a full bench of the court after an internal high court probe revealed 760 calls and SMSes had been exchanged between Balwinder and Sunita.

During the internal probe, Balwinder had claimed innocence, claiming “he was being made a scapegoat to save someone.” He, however, could not explain who was making him a scapegoat to save whom.

The internal probe report revealed that Balwinder had also claimed during the probe that he has no acquaintance with any woman candidate and had never met Sunita.

When he was confronted with the record of his mobile conversations with Sunita, he said he did not know anything about such a large number of calls, but could not explain who had made 760 calls and SMSes to her phone from his number.

After considering the material produced before the registrar (vigilance), the probe had concluded it was only Balwinder who handled and had custody of examination papers from the time the question paper was set and till they were distributed on the day of the examination.

The probe also revealed Sunita and Sushila had copies of question paper for HCS (JB) preliminary examination 2017 even before the examination.

It was also concluded that Sunita had procured a copy of the question paper from Balwinder and thereafter she supplied a copy thereof to Sushila and negotiated with to supply her a copy of the question paper.

The Scam

The entire scam was unearthed after Suman, a resident of Pinjore in Panchkula district, had filed a petition in the high court seeking registration of a criminal case into leakage of the question paper for the examination of prestigious services.

She had produced an audio recording of some candidates claiming most of the seats for the selection of candidates had already been sold for Rs 1.5 crore and the selection of the candidates had already been finalised. She had specifically named two woman candidates, Sunita and Sushila, claiming they were involved in the scam.

Later, the court had found both Sunita (general category) and Sushila (reserved category) had topped the examination with exceptionally high marks in their respective categories.

The high court‘s internal probe had also found Balwinder was responsible for leak of the examination paper to Sunita. The probe committee had recommended registration of an FIR in the case.

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