The arrested have been identified as Rajendra Borhade, 43, Vishal More, 21, Pratik Mehta, 21, and Rajkumar Mishra. While Borhade works as a clerk in Agarwal College, Kalyan, Mishra is an IT coordinator in the same college.
According to joint commissioner of police (crime) Sadanand Date, on April 5, Dr Padma Deshmukh, controller of exams, Mumbai University, lodged a complaint with the Cyber Crime Police Station stating that on April 4, the Marketing & Human Resource Management paper of TYBcom Economics had been leaked on WhatsApp. The case was handed over to Unit 8 of the crime branch and the cyber police station was asked to assist them in the investigation.
As per the police, two days before the exam, the paper was sent via Internet to the centre concerned in an encrypted format. "In order to decrypt the question papers, IT coordinators of the centres were sent passwords on their mobile phones. They then decoded the paper, which was later distributed among students," said a crime branch officer.
"The paper was at 11am on April 4, but at 10:11am, they received information that the paper was being circulated on WhatsApp. So the university changed the paper for the exam. The authority concerned came to us with all the details, but we were unable to track who had leaked the paper," Date said.
On receiving specific information, the police on Sunday, arrested Borhade from outside a mall at Ghod Bunder Road in Thane. "During the inquiry it was revealed that Borhade had handed over the paper to a TYBcom student, More, who passed it on to one Mehta. The photo image of the paper was uploaded on WhatsApp by Mehta, who is a student of Birla College, Kalyan. The two were also arrested the same day," Date said.
"We interrogated them and realised that Mishra had a role in the affair. We have now established that Mishra had taken an additional copy of the paper and given it to Borhade. Mishra was arrested on Monday.
More paid Borhade Rs 3,000. He shared the amount with Mishra. Mehta had contributed Rs500 of the Rs3,000. Once More got the paper, he roped in another friend who could help him with answering the paper.
Some part of this crime has been captured on CCTV," said police inspector Deepak Phatangre.
The police are now inquiring whether the accused have committed such offences before and whether there are more students involved. The accused have been remanded in police custody till April 11. They have been booked under relevant sections of the IPC, Maharashtra Prevention of Malpractices Act, and Information Technology Act.