ssc aspirants protest
Staff Selection Commission (SSC) aspirants stage a protest against the alleged SSC exam scam, outside the office of Delhi Staff Selection Commission in New Delhi on March 4, 2018.IANS

The Central government on Monday said it had ordered a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) probe into the allegations of question paper leak and cheating leveled by several students who appeared for the Staff Selection Commission's (SSC) exam last month.

Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh was quoted by ANI as saying on Monday: "We have accepted the demands of the protesting candidates and have given orders for CBI inquiry. The protest should now stop." 

The Centre's decision came after the SSC on Sunday gave its nod for a CBI inquiry into the allegations that answers to one of the papers, whose examination was conducted on February 21, were leaked and that there was mass cheating in the exam. 

Some reports on Monday said the Supreme Court was slated to hear a plea seeking a CBI probe into the matter on March 12. However, with the government already ordering the probe, the petitioners may withdraw their plea. 

The government move came following continuous protests by the agitating aspirants outside the commission's office at CGO complex in New Delhi's Lodhi Road since February 27.

SSC Chairman Ashim Khurana was quoted by PTI as saying in a statement that the agitating aspirants met him along with BJP MP Manoj Tiwari and submitted a memorandum to resolve the matter.

"The commission agreed recommending to the Department of Personnel and Training to request the government to conduct a CBI enquiry into the allegations of leak of questions of Paper-I on February 21, and other related issues," the statement read.

Meanwhile, Tiwari also met Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh and apprised him of the concerns of the agitating students. 

manoj tiwari bjp
Delhi BJP chief Manoj Tiwari interacts with job aspirants protesting against alleged SSC exam 'paper leak' in New Delhi on March 4, 2018.IANS

Over 9,000 aspirants had appeared for the SSC exams last month, of which a major section of candidates was protesting against the alleged paper leak.

As the protests intensified, the Congress grabbed the opportunity to hit out at the BJP, alleging that the paper leak was similar to the VYAPAM scam in Madhya Pradesh and that a CBI inquiry into it was a must.

Congress spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala, according to a Zee News report, asked if the Narendra Modi government was selling jobs instead of providing job opportunities to the youth.

Following the agitation against the paper leak and cheating, the commission apparently canceled one of the exams conducted on February 21 and said that it would be re-conducted on March 9, 2018.

Here are the earlier statements issued by the commission and chairman Khurana in line with the allegations raised by the aspirants.

"The commission has received a few screenshots in the afternoon of 23.2.2018 of quantitative ability (paper-1) apparently taken on 21.2.2018 at around 12.30 pm belonging to a candidate namely Sachin Chouhan (roll number 2201281955). These snapshots are being circulated after about 48 hours of completion of the CGLE (Tier-II) Examination, 2017 and appear to be manipulated and would have no significance on the sanctity of the examination. Earlier also, at around 10.15 am on 21.2.2018, the commission received an information that some of the answer keys of paper I, to be held at 10.30 am on that day of the examination, were being circulated on the social media/e-mails. The commission investigated into the matter and found that the claims were absolutely bogus and baseless."

"In continuation with the earlier discussions held with the protesting candidates of CGLE 2017, a delegation of the candidates met with the Minister of State, Ministry of Personnel, Pension and Public Grievances... After hearing the delegation, it was directed by the Hon'ble minister that though the paper 1 of 21.2.2018 was cancelled by the SSC on account of technical issues, to inquire into the allegation of leakage of this cancelled paper, the evidence being provided by the candidates be taken on record and if found substantiated, the matter will be referred to CBI for further enquiry."

Meanwhile, a large section of social media users strongly condemned the alleged instances of cheating in the SSC exam.

Here are a few reactions: