Around the time Education Minister Nurul Islam Nahid declared Tk 5 lakh bounty for helping catch those involved in question papers leak, several Facebook groups and accounts were offering the English first paper question for Tk 500 each.
The group members and individuals were assuring the potential buyers that their question paper would be identical to the original question paper. They promised to provide the question paper hours before the exam scheduled for 10:00am today.
One member of Facebook group "SSC Question OuT 100% Common All Board & Result Change 2018+19+20 All BD" was asking people to send Tk 500 in advance to become members of a secret Facebook messenger group or WhatsAapp group and get the questions.
The member wrote that they stopped circulating question paper in their public group because journalists were following it.
Another member wrote, "I was the first to give you Bangla question paper but only a few of you gave money. I will also give you English paper 100%. Let's see from whom you get the question paper first without me. I want to challenge you. Those who will give advance will get the paper."
Another group offering question papers is "PSC, JSC, SSC, HSC ALL Exam 100% Common Suggestion & Out Question".
"I want to help out again. I gave you Bangla question papers. If you need English papers, please inbox me," one member wrote on the group page at 5:30pm yesterday.
Dozens from around the country responded, saying they were looking for the question papers.
Several other groups are operating in the same way.
Questions of different public examinations were being leaked over the last few years, but the education ministry never admitted it.
For the first time, the education minister yesterday announced the bounty after an emergency meeting in the wake of widespread allegations that the question papers (multiple choice questions) of Bangla first and second parts have been leaked.
The meeting formed an 11-member committee to probe the alleged leak, which drew huge flak from examinees and guardians.
Headed by Md Alamgir, secretary of technical and madrasa division, the committee will include representatives from the cabinet division, public administration ministry, home ministry, police, SSC section of the education ministry, and education board.
"Steps will be taken in line with the recommendations of the probe body," Nahid told journalists, adding that those spreading question papers in social media will be brought to book.
“It's only a matter of time,” he warned.
He said the BTRC, the telecommunications regulator, was informed to stop circulation of question papers through the social media.
But sources in the BTRC said they were yet to get any official instructions.
"We will definitely take steps if we get instructions," a BTRC official told The Daily Star last night, wishing anonymity.
Before the start of the SSC exams on February 1, the education minister suggested blocking Facebook for a "certain period of time" in Bangladesh during the examinations to prevent spread of leaked questions.
But the government has yet to take any visible action.
Tanvir Hassan Zoha, a cyber security researcher, said, "It is possible to track down the groups and IDs linked to mobile banking. They [such users] use their phone for money transaction and these numbers can be easily monitored."
And law enforcement agencies have the technical capacity to monitor and track any phone numbers.
Contacted, Deputy Commissioner of the DMP's Cyber Crime Unit Alimuzzaman said, "We are working to track those behind the question leak. We have made some progress in this regard."
Talking to The Daily Star, some guardians expressed their frustration at the authorities' failure to stop the leak.
"Questions are being leaked from the first day of the exam. There are details on Facebook pages how it is being done. They are giving phone numbers. It's been four days. But law enforcers are only saying they are looking into the matter," said a guardian.