The Supreme Court on Tuesday dismissed a plea seeking a probe by the Central Bureau of Investigation into the alleged Staff Selection Commission question paper leak case after the Centre said the agency has already begun a preliminary inquiry.

The public interest litigation, filed by advocate ML Sharma, said the central agency must take over the investigation into the alleged question paper leak of the Combined Graduate Level (Tier-II) Examination 2018, PTI reported. The Staff Selection Commission conducts exams for recruitment in the central government.

After days of protests by candidates outside the Staff Selection Commission’s office since the paper leak on social media on February 21, the government ordered a Central Bureau of Investigation inquiry. On March 12, the Supreme Court had asked the Centre to respond to the plea asking for a CBI inquiry.

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.