The Telangana High Court on Tuesday, 21 March, directed the special investigative team (SIT) probing the TSPSC question paper leak case to submit a status report within three weeks.
The HC also asked the state government to file its counter affidavit.
This, even as the SIT issued a notice to Telangana BJP chief Bandi Sanjay Kumar, to appear before it on 24 April to substantiate the claims he has been making about the involvement of various people in the case.
This comes a day after the wife of one of the accused — A Raja Shekhar Reddy — approached the high court alleging that her husband was tortured in police custody.
The court gave an order on Tuesday while hearing a petition filed by the Telangana Pradesh Congress Committee (TPCC), whose president A Revanth Reddy was also present as a petitioner.
After the state government sought time to file its report, the court posted the next hearing to 11 April.
TPCC counsel demands CBI probe
While linking the TSPSC question paper leak case to the Vyapam scam in Madhya Pradesh, the petitioner’s advocate Vivek Dhanka appealed to the high court to order a detailed probe either by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) or any other independent agency.
Raising questions over the SIT probe into the issue, Dhanka also submitted a copy of the Vyapam scam judgement to the high court, in which the Supreme Court transferred the investigation to the CBI.
Dhanka also pointed out that six entrance examinations had been cancelled due to the leak.
“Over 5 lakh aspirants appeared for these different tests. Over 4.5 lakh had written the Group-1 examinations. Out of them, 25,000 qualified in the prelims,” he said.
Referring to Telangana Minister KT Rama Rao’s claim that it was “the fault of two individuals”, TSPSC employees Praveen Kumar and Raja Shekhar Reddy, he asked how the minister could say that only two were involved when the investigation was in its initial stages.
While questioning the rationale of the TSPSC not uploading the details of the qualified candidates in the prelims of the Group-1 examinations onto its website, Dhanka also pointed out that 20 candidates from one mandal (Malyala mandal of the Jagtial district) emerged among the top scorers.
Revanth Reddy earlier alleged that KTR’s office was directly involved in leaking the exam in the mandal, which he claimed was the native place of accused Raja Shekhar Reddy and KTR’s personal assistant.
Government’s counsel opposes CBI probe
Arguing for the Telangana government, Advocate General BS Prasad asserted that the case was being investigated in a fair and transparent manner, and opposed the petition seeking a CBI investigation.
He added that the police in Telangana had handled high-profile cases in the past, and were competent to investigate the case.
The government counsel also submitted electronic evidence and asked it to be thoroughly examined.
Prasad stated that the petitioners had nothing to do with cancelling the entrance examinations.
“The petition was filed based purely on political interests. It should be dismissed since it has no locus standi. It has become a common practice to file such petitions, largely to garner hype for their attempts,” he said.
SIT issues notice to Bandi Sanjay
Meanwhile, the SIT issued a notice to Telangana BJP chief Bandi Sanjay Kumar.
SIT officers pasted the copy of the notice to the wall of Sanjay’s residence in Hyderabad as he and his family members were away from the house.
Sanjay was asked to furnish information and evidence related to the remarks made by him in connection with the case.
A few days ago, while responding to the question paper leak case, Sanjay said that several candidates got the highest marks from the same village in a Mandal in the erstwhile Karimnagar district.
The BJP leader also alleged that several leaders of the ruling BRS are involved in the TSPSC exam paper leak.
He said that after obtaining the leaked question papers of the TSPSC exams, relatives of Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrashekhar Rao managed to get government posts.