The Centre on Thursday asked the Staff Selection Commission to investigate the alleged leak of a recruitment examination paper, three days after candidates launched a protest in Delhi. The government also said the Central Bureau of Investigation would look into the matter if the evidence submitted by the protestors was found to be substantial.

The Staff Selection Commission made the announcement after a meeting between the protesting candidates and Minister of State for Personnel, Pension and Public Grievances Jitendra Singh. SSC Chairman Ashim Khurana was also present in the meeting.

The SSC, which operates under Singh’s ministry, recruits staff to various government posts. Hundreds of candidates began a protest in New Delhi on Tuesday, three days after the SSC cancelled the Combined Graduate-Level Examination on February 21 due to “technical reasons” and said it would conduct a re-test on March 9.

Candidates took the Combined Graduate-Level Examination between February 17 and February 22, but the test on February 21 was “delayed” and “candidates faced inconveniences” because of “incomplete downloading of data”, the SSC said. Students, however, alleged “mass cheating” in the examination and said the question paper was leaked. They have also claimed blatant corruption at the SSC and in the examinations that it conducts.

Protestors have been demanding that the Central Bureau of Investigation look into the matter. They had met officials of the selection panel on Wednesday evening to submit evidence of their claims. The Jawaharlal Nehru University Students’ Union, the National Students’ Union of India, and the All India Students Association have also joined the protests.

On Wednesday, SSC Chairman Khurana claimed the protests were “being actively instigated and sponsored” by two coaching institutes “with vested interests”. He did not name the institutes.

Congress spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala said on Thursday that the “SSC scam” was “another Vyapam”, referring to the alleged irregularities in admission and recruitment examinations conducted by the Madhya Pradesh Professional Examination Board. Congress MP Shashi Tharoor also wrote to Singh on Thursday, seeking an inquiry by the CBI into the matter.

In a tweet on Friday, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal also sought a CBI probe into the matter.