The government on Monday ordered the Central Bureau of Investigation to look into the alleged leak of a question paper of an exam the Staff Selection Commission conducted in February. The commission’s chairman recommended a CBI inquiry after a week of protests by aspirants.

Thousands of candidates have been protesting outside the commission’s office in Delhi since February 27, alleging that one of the tests held on February 21 had been leaked. The commission conducts exams for recruitment in the central government.

“We have accepted the demands of the protesting candidates and have given orders for CBI inquiry,” Home Affairs Minister Rajnath Singh said. “The protests should now stop.”

Earlier on Monday, the Supreme Court agreed to hear a plea seeking an investigation into the matter on March 12.

On Sunday, SSC Chairman Ashim Khurana said a delegation of the protesting candidates had met him and demanded a CBI investigation. “The commission has agreed to suggest to the Department of Personnel and Training to ask the government to conduct a CBI inquiry,” Khurana said, according to PTI.

The protesting students, as well as Bharatiya Janata Party MP Manoj Tiwari, had met Home Affairs Minister Rajnath Singh earlier.

The alleged paper leak

The candidates began protesting on February 27, just days after the Staff Selection Commission said it would conduct a re-test for those who took the Combined Graduate-Level Examination on February 21. Citing “technical reasons”, the SSC made the announcement on February 24 and scheduled the re-examination for March 9.

Candidates wrote the SSC exams between February 17 and February 22, but the February 21 test was “delayed” and “candidates faced inconveniences” because of “incomplete downloading of data”, the Staff Selection Commission had said.

Aspirants, however, alleged “mass cheating” in the examination and said the question paper was leaked. They also accused the Staff Selection Commission of blatant corruption in the way it conducts the exams.