KATHMANDU,DEC 07 . The scholarship examination conducted by the Ministry of Education in various courses under Medicine was cancelled on Saturday following the leakage of MBBS entrance question papers.
During a raid by the Commission for Investigation of Abuse of Authority, two people were held with the 10-page question paper for MBBS Biology examination due to be held at 1pm at Goldengate College, Battisputali.
As many as 5,809 students had signed up for MBBS, BDS, BSc Nursing, BPH, B Pharma, BAMS, BMLT and BSc Forestry entrance tests set to be held at nine other centres in Kathmandu Valley.
The exam has been rescheduled for December 13. Around 300 students get scholarships on the basis of their performance during this examination.
MBBS aspirants wait for the MoE scholarship exam as it provides them an opportunity to study in medical colleges inside and outside Nepal on merit basis. An MBBS course costs up to Rs 4 million. A CIAA team arrested Goldengate College Director Deviram Pandey and teacher Khechar Nath (Harihar) Sapkota from Ratopul with the leaked question papers for Biology Sets ‘A’ and ‘B’. The duo is said to have acquired the papers and produced copies to be given to nine students who are alleged to have paid about Rs 1 million each.
The anti-graft body also rounded up seven people including Dr Prabhat Kumar Kuswaha, the middleman who recently completed his four-year jail term on an earlier question paper leakage charge. Kuswaha, released two months ago, was arrested on October 1, 2010 from Maitidevi and was charged with disclosing questions prior to the test during an Institute of Medicine (IoM) entrance of the Tribhuvan University.
Sources say Kuswaha and his team had planned without success to leak the questions on Friday. He had then headed for Birgunj to what many believe flee across the border into India. Not only was Kuswaha arrested on Friday night, he was also pressed to let off secrets about Saturday’s plan. The CIAA action on Saturday was based on this leak.
The CIAA learnt about a deal with the students promising them to provide the question papers. It stated that a cheque for Rs 1 million (NIC Asia Pulchowk Branch) was handed over to Kuswaha and another mediator Maheshwor Prasad Yadav, who has also been caught.
The CIAA has begun investigations over numerous ministry officials, especially those in the Department of Scholarship, which conducts the tests. “It’s impossible for a third party to have access to the questions without MoE officials’ involvement,” said a source at the anti-graft body.
Meanwhile, the ministry is preparing to take action against the college. “As the case is being investigated by the CIAA, final action will be decided after the prosecution is over,” said Hari Lamsal, joint-secretary at the Education Ministry. He said they will come up with stringent actions on Sunday against those involved in the crime.
Ramesh Silwal, chief executive officer of Goldengate, said the college has nothing to do with the incident. “It was an individual’s act and those found guilty should be booked,” he said.
The MoE can recover the re-examination cost or go as far as cancelling affiliation to the college. In the past four years, question paper leakage has been common in the education sector. Educationists blame mushrooming bridge course institutes, commercialisation of education, unhealthy competition among colleges for results and government inaction against culprits to the situation.
Dr Govinda KC, who has staged fasts against the irregularities in the medical sector, said the government had set a bad precedent by letting the guilty in question paper leakage cases off the hook in the past.