Bank exam question leak: Buet Prof Nikhil finally charged

Prof Nikhil Ranjan Dhar

Buet Prof Nikhil Ranjan Dhar was finally charged with involvement in bank recruitment question paper leak even though the investigation officer (IO) had earlier dropped his name from the charge sheet.

The development came over 11 days after a Dhaka court summoned IO Shamim Ahmed, a sub-inspector of the Detective Branch (DB), to show cause why and how he relieved Prof Nikhil from the charges.

The court on January 24 directed Shamim to submit a supplementary charge sheet in the case by February 5 following his submission before it.

After the court's order, Shamim today submitted a supplementary charge against Prof Nikhil to the Chief Metropolitan Magistrate's Court of Dhaka.

Quoting confessional statements of an accused, Delowar Hossain, the investigator said in the supplementary charge sheet that Prof Nikhil himself brought the tenders for Ahsanullah University of Science and Technology (AUST) from Bangladesh Bank with the lowest rate and he controlled all.

"Nikhil Dhar gave technical support to the exam committee of AUST for preparing and printing the question papers. As per his directives, Delowar put a set of questions for the recruitment exam for bankers in Nikhil Dhar's bag," the investigator wrote in his report.

The exam was scheduled for November 6, of 2021,

There was a transaction of huge amount of money in his Sonali Bank's account before the incident, so, evidence proves Nikhil's involvement with the incident, said the charge sheet.

In the supplementary charge sheet, the investigator showed Nikhil as "fugitive" and appealed to the court to issue an arrest warrant against him as he did not secure bail from any court.

On November 16 last year, the same investigator submitted a charge sheet, excluding Prof Nikhil as an accused.

The investigator then mentioned that Prof Nikhil did not receive any copies of the printed question papers from Delowar Hossain, who mentioned the professor's involvement in his confessional statements.

The investigator also said he scrutinised the confessional statement of Delowar but did not find any truth in the allegations brought by him against Prof Nikhil over the question leak. So, he appealed to the court to relieve him from the charges of case.

The Daily Star had also obtained two copies of charge sheets of the case.

The name of Prof Nikhil came up in Delowar's confessional statements during investigation in the case filed with Badda Police Station under the Public Examinations (Offences) Act in November 2021.

A few days later, on November 21, 2021, Nikhil was relieved of the chairman post of Buet's industrial and production engineering department and exam-related duties.

Following the question leak in recruitment tests of five state-owned banks on November 6, 2021, the detectives have so far arrested 11 people.

Eight of them, including Delowar, gave confessional statements before magistrates on different dates.

Photos of the question papers with answers went viral on social media even before the exam ended.

Initially, Bangladesh Bank ignored the question leak complaints and did not make any immediate enquiry.

Later, it cancelled the examination as several media outlets carried reports suggesting the question had been leaked.