Narayana’s counsel told the media that the police failed to make a case to send the former minister to judicial custody.

File image of Ponguru Narayana
news Controversy Wednesday, May 11, 2022 - 17:29

A court in Andhra Pradesh's Chittoor town on Wednesday, May 11, granted bail to former minister P Narayana in the Class 10 question paper leak case. Narayana, who was taken into custody by Chittoor police from his residence in Hyderabad on Tuesday, brought him to the town late in the night. The police later produced him before a magistrate, who granted him bail after dismissing the arguments put forth by the police.

The magistrate heard the arguments till early Wednesday and granted bail to Narayana, a leader of the opposition Telugu Desam Party (TDP) and founder of Narayana Group of Educational Institutions. Police had arrested Narayana in a case registered in Chittoor town in connection with leakage of a question paper of Secondary School Certificate (SSC) exams. The police had booked a case after a Telugu question paper was leaked from an examination centre and circulated in a WhatsApp group.

Based on their investigation, the police alleged that Narayana Group of Schools had resorted to leaking question papers of board exams as they were neglecting to teach language subjects and social studies while focusing on Maths and Science, so their students can get higher ranks in engineering and medical college entrance examinations like IIT-JEE and NEET. They had further alleged that the question paper was leaked on Narayana’s instruction.

Narayana's counsel brought to the notice of the court that he resigned from the post of the chairman of Narayana Group in 2014 and produced evidence in this regard. His counsel later told reporters that the magistrate was convinced by his argument that Narayana is currently not involved in the functioning of Narayana Group of institutions. The police failed to make a case to send the former minister to judicial custody. The court directed Narayana to arrange two personal sureties of Rs 1 lakh each by May 18 and ordered his release.

District Superintendent of Police Y Rishant Reddy had told reporters that Narayana has been taken into custody based on the investigation conducted so far in the case registered in Chittoor I Town police station. He said the case was registered on a complaint by the District Educational Officer (DEO) about the circulation of a Telugu language question paper on April 27. The SP revealed that a total of seven persons have been taken into custody so far in this case.

He said Narayana was arrested as per rules and on the basis of technical evidence gathered and the details collected from other accused.So far, the Andhra Pradesh police have arrested nearly 60 headmasters and teachers of various private and government schools in connection with various incidents of leaking of question papers. The exams were held from April 27 to May 6 after a gap of two years because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The opposition TDP had condemned Narayana's arrest and termed it as political vendetta by the ruling YSRCP government.

Read: Former TDP minister Narayana held for class 10 paper leak, TDP lashes out

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