Though more than five months have passed since hundreds of answer scripts of the computer science and engineering department of Chittagong University (CU) were mysteriously found burnt, the academic probe committee has failed to make any progress in their investigation.
Police, too, could not make any headway.
On May 16, 709 answer scripts of third, fifth and seventh semesters were found burnt on the roof of the computer science and engineering (CSE) faculty building.
Three padlocks were found broken, indicating that some "miscreants" might have entered the store room, situated inside the chairperson's room, to steal and destroy the answer scripts of nine courses, informed teachers after the incident.
Immediately, the university authorities formed a three-member probe committee, headed by Prof Mahabubur Rahman, dean of the Faculty of Biological Sciences, and directed them to submit the probe report within five working days.
As the deadline passed on May 21, the probe committee sought two more weeks. Later, on June 4, they sought an indefinite period of time as they failed to make any breakthrough till then.
This correspondent recently contacted CU Assistant Proctor Litan Mitra, also the member secretary of the probe body, for latest updates of the investigation.
“We could not submit the report on time as it is a very complicated as well as crucial case. Such incidents never happened before in the university.
“Some people are on our suspect list. It would have been easier for us if we had latest technology or an expert in handling such cases,” said the proctor.
The CCTV camera installed in front of the chairperson's room only had footage of a hand disabling it, he said, adding, “We will submit our report soon with recommendations for further investigation by law enforcers.”
Some senior teachers and students expressed their dissatisfaction, terming it a “shameful incident” in the university's history.
Earlier in 2014, question papers of three courses were stolen from the office of the same department, but none could be identified by the probe committee.
A senior teacher, wishing anonymity, told this correspondent that such incidents were recurring because the miscreants were not being punished.
Meanwhile, the CSE department arranged fresh examinations for those courses after the incident caused resentment among students.
“My previous exams went well. But this time, I had a bad exam. The incident is very disappointing. It's also frightening because it's a question of security on the campus,” said a fifth semester student, requesting anonymity.
CU Vice Chancellor Prof Iftekhar Uddin Chowdhury said they would take stern action against the culprits as per the recommendations of the probe committee.
A general diary was filed with Hathazari Police Station on May 17.
Inspector (investigation) Mohammad Shamim of the police station said they have not found “anything” in the investigation.