Dahisar police have arrested two persons and detained two minors, for stealing 481 Secondary School Certificate (SSC) answer sheets from Isra Hindi Medium School in Dahisar on April 3. The accused, who hailed from economically underprivileged backgrounds, told police they did not know they were stealing SSC answer sheets and thought they would make a quick buck by selling papers to a scrap dealer.
Acting on information, the police team led by senior inspector Subhash Sawant arrested Vikram Sharma, who studies in a college, and his jobless friend Akif Shaikh. Police said they have detained the two minors and are examining whether they can be booked.
While police initially said 516 papers were missing, 28 were found in the principal's cabinet a few days ago. Moreover, the school realised seven students were absent for the Sansk rit paper. Deputy commissioner of police Kirankumar Chavan said of the 481 stolen answer sheets of Sanskrit, History and Science, they have recovered149 papers of History and181 of Sanskrit from the accused.
The accused told police they entered the school on April 3, while the principal Nagendra Pathak had gone out to a nearby hotel to have tea. They claimed they stole the papers assuming them to be scrap. When they la ter realized they were SSC answer sheets, they tried to return them but did not get any chance as Pathak's cabin was locked,“ said Sawant. The two accused admitted they had earlier stolen some notebooks and papers from the school.
“Only 150 papers of Science are yet to be recovered. The paper bundle is in good condition.If the board asks us to submit it, we will do so. If they want us to assess and give it, we will follow their instructions,“ said Pathak.
Mumbai Divisional Board chairperson, Dattatray Jagtap, however, said action will be initiated against Pathak too for negligence. “The principal is the custodian of the answer sheets. If such an incident has happened under his supervision, he is liable for action too.He should have taken utmost care to handle the board papers.The inquiry committee will vi sit the school in the coming week to decide on the future course of action,“ said Jagtap. “We will ask them to submit the papers to the board and the committee will decide if teachers from the school should be allowed to assess the papers now,“ he added.
When the incident came to light last Monday , the board decided to calculate marks of the students in the missing papers based on their overall performance in other subjects.