Meet 'Tomato': Karnataka's exam paper 'kingpin'
Shivakumaraiah alias Guruji alias 'Tomato', 66, a resident of Nandini Layout, was picked up from an under-construction building at Garvebhavipalya in Bengaluru on Monday night, DGP (CID) HC Kishore Chandra told reporters.
Absconding over the question paper leak racket, he was produced before a local court and has been remanded to police custody for 15 days for further interrogation. Shivakumaraiah, who reportedly kept changing his hideouts, was traced to Malur, Kolar and other several areas in Bengaluru City before finally being nabbed. The police also seized ₹50,000 from him.
"He was shocked and pleaded innocence. He kept saying that he did not know anything about the question paper leak racket," said the police and added that they had expanded their search to include Shivakumaraiah’s son Dinesh and a relative named Kiran.
“It now appears that the kingpin is someone else and Shivakumaraiah was handled by the kingpin. He was given question papers for distribution. A thorough interrogation of Shivakumaraiah is needed to unearth the entire racket” said a senior police officer. The CID invoked the provisions of the Karnataka Organized Crime Act (KOCA) for the first time, blocking his anticipatory bail.
Police claimed that Shivakumaraiah lead a lavish, womanising lifestyle and often used the homes of his paramours as hideouts. He was known as 'Tomato' and met people through his associates. The associates would complete deals with the code - 'Tomato available for ₹150 kg.'
The CID has also arrested several other persons in connection with the case including the Officer on Special Duty to state minister Sharanprakash Patil. Cracking the whip, the government had suspended 40 officers and other staff of the Pre-University Department and also transferred the Director following the leak.
Over 1.74 lakh students wrote the exam across the state finally on April 12 under strict vigil.
Facing flak over handling of the examinations, Primary and Secondary Education Minister Kimmane Rathnakar had announced that government was working on changing the rules for the conduct of exams.