KARACHI: Authorities claimed to have unearthed what they described as a network of an “organised cheating mafia” in the metropolis and arrested one of the several alleged operatives behind leakage of matriculation papers, it emerged on Thursday.

Sources said that investigations into the reports of organised cheating and leakage of classes IX and X papers led to the arrest of a suspect, who himself is said to be studying Artificial Intelligence.

SSP-Central Zeeshan Shafiq Siddiqi said that the police arrested Sharjeel Rehman and recovered a laptop and four cell phones from him.

During interrogation, the suspect revealed that he had leaked examination papers of classes IX and X online around 30 minutes before the start of the exam.

Police arrest AI student for leaking exam papers on WhatsApp groups

The SSP said that the suspect was the admin of a WhatsApp group (2k24), where he posted the leaked papers and their solved answers.

He identified other suspects as Fayaz Jamali and Sufiyan who were the admins of the same WhatsApp group. “The held suspect himself is doing AI courses,” the SSP said.

The suspect Sharjeel and his WhatsApp group came to light when a senior government official visited an examination centre on May 14 and found multiple WhatsApp groups being used by students for cheating.

In a report submitted to Karachi Commissioner Hasan Naqvi and copied to the SSP-Central and Board of Secondary Education Karachi chairman, Deputy Commissioner-Central Fuad Soomro had stated that he had visited an examination centre set up in the Government Boys Secondary School in New Karachi, where he found that students were using cell phones for cheating.

“Upon further inquiry, multiple Whastapp groups with hundreds of members were found in which paper was being shared before time and solved paper was also being shared to students during examination hours i.e. from 9:30am to 12:30pm,” he stated.

The DC further stated that the WhatsApp groups were facilitating and enabling cheating through disseminating solved papers. These papers are then accessed by students in examination halls with the connivance of superintendent and invigilators of their respective exam centres.

The DC had identified seven suspects who were operating four WhatsApp groups with over 2,000 members and said that “these groups and admins are part of the organised cheating mafia”.

The DC had recommended a thorough probe by the Federal Investigation Agency and the Anti-Corruption Establishment to take action against government officials and private persons part of the “organised cheating mafia”.

Published in Dawn, May 24th, 2024

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