Cuttack: An hour after the commencement of the Matriculation examination across Odisha today, question papers of Odia reportedly surfaced on social media in Nuapada district and Kamakhyanagar of Dhenkanal district.

Though the question papers were reportedly found to be viral on WhatsApp and other social media, School and Mass Education Minister Badri Narayan Patra rubbished the reports stating that mobile phones were completely prohibited at the exam centres.

"As per the system, question paper is being transported to nodal centres and kept there in police custody. Moreover, it was dispatched to exam centres at 8 am under tight police security. There is no way question paper could leak as the packets were opened in presence of officials," Patra said.

"It is being verified whether the leaked question paper is of this year or previous years. Allegations of question paper leak in Kandhamal and other places are also not true," added Patra.

Meanwhile, Congress media cell head Satya Prakash Nayak said, "It is very unfortunate. Leak of question papers of Matric and Plus II examinations has become an annual affair now. They are playing with the future of students. The government is only claiming in media that they have taken steps for foolproof security. We want a probe into the matter and immediate action should be taken against higher officials of the department."

Board of Secondary Education (BSE) president Jahan Ara Begum confirmed the leak of Odia question paper. She said, "The question paper was leaked after the commencement of the exam and the board will conduct an inquiry into the matter."

Later in the day, the Board suspended four centre superintendents and four other invigilators after a probe into the incident.

BSE President Jahan Ara Begum informed that suspended officials are from two examination centres in Nuapada district (Karangmal and Gopinath High Schools in Boden block) and one each from Koraput (Bandhugaon High School) and Dhenkanal (Sudarsan Vidyabhawan).

"Students involved in connection with the incident will be identified and they will be barred from appearing in the ongoing examination. Apart from that, police complaint will be lodged over the incident," said the Board president.

This year, as many as 5.87 lakh students are appearing for the Annual HSC Examination 2019 conducted by the Board of Secondary Education (BSE) in the State.

On the other hand, over 3,500 students in Odisha also appeared for the Class 10 exams conducted by the Indian Certificate of Secondary Education (ICSE). The examinations which began today will continue till March 25.