Patna: In recent months, Nitish Kumar has not been on the best of terms with the media. Which is why, his "thank you" to journalists for exposing a massive exam scam that has shamed his Bihar was seen as unusual.
The Chief Minister made the comment on Monday, hours before students who allegedly paid bribes to be named Class 12 "toppers" were to be formally charged.
Speaking at a function to mark Teachers' Day, he acknowledged that it was a TV channel's interview of Ruby Rai, the most prominent face of the "topper scam", which exposed the scandal.
Without that interview, no one would have learnt about the scale and gravity of the exam scam, Mr Kumar said, adding, "So when everyone was asking for a magisterial inquiry, I ordered criminal investigations into the matter."
The Chief Minister said since that expose, not only have "those who betrayed the trust of the government" been jailed but all steps are being taken to prevent a repeat of "officials bringing disrepute to the state".
A police team in Patna is likely to file a chargesheet against 34 people including Ruby Rai and her classmates, all teenagers, besides officials of the state exam board and the alleged mastermind, Bacha Rai, the principal of Ruby's college in north Bihar.
Ruby was declared the top scorer in Political Science, but was arrested after a TV channel aired an interview in which she said that the subject taught her cooking. She was placed in a juvenile home with several government officials objecting to her detention as excessive action against a teenager.
Last year, images of relatives and friends climbing the high walls of exam centres to assist students inside by passing them notes made international headlines. Then too, Mr Kumar had ordered an investigation.