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  4. NEET-UG paper leak matter: CBI registers FIR to probe irregularities in 2024 examination | DETAILS

NEET-UG paper leak matter: CBI registers FIR to probe irregularities in 2024 examination | DETAILS

The Centre on June 22 ordered a CBI investigation into the allegations of malpractices and paper leak in the conduct of NEET-UG exam for the admission to medical courses.

Reported By : Abhay Parashar Edited By : Ashesh Mallick
New Delhi
Updated on: June 23, 2024 17:36 IST
Students during a protest over the NEET-UG and UGC-NET
Image Source : PTI Students during a protest over the NEET-UG and UGC-NET examinations issue

NEET-UG paper leak row: A day after a CBI probe was ordered by the Centre into the alleged irregularities in the NEET-UG exam, the central agency has registered an FIR on the matter. The government had handed over the matter to the probe agency last evening. 

Separate case in NEET-UG matter

CBI registered a regular case in the NEET exam paper leak case after the complaint of the Ministry of Education. CBI started the investigation by registering an FIR under IPC section 420 (fraud) and 120B (conspiracy). According to sources, CBI has registered a separate case. The cases of Bihar and Gujarat have not been taken over. The police of both the states are currently investigating and making arrests at their own level. When CBI is required to investigate further, Bihar and Gujarat police will be contacted, sources said.

"After the consent of the police of both the states and when needed, their case can be taken over and the case diary can be taken," they added.

Details of the CBI FIR in NEET-UG matter

According to the statement of CBI, it registered a case in connection with the allegations of irregularities in NEET-2024 exam. CBI has registered a criminal case based on a written complaint by the Director of the Ministry of Education.

The allegations in the FIR state that the NEET (UG) 2024 examination was conducted by the National Testing Agency (NTA) on 5 May 2024 at 4,750 centers in 571 cities, including 14 cities abroad. More than 23 lakh candidates appeared in the examination. Some incidents took place in some states during the conduct of NEET (UG) 2024 examination. Therefore, the Ministry of Education has requested the CBI to conduct a comprehensive investigation into the entire conspiracy of alleged irregularities including conspiracy, cheating, forgery, breach of trust and destruction of evidence by the candidates, institutions and middlemen.

The Ministry has asked for investigation into the role of public servants associated with the conduct of the examination and has also requested the CBI to investigate the entire gamut of events and the larger conspiracy.

CBI has registered a criminal case and taken up investigation. Special teams have been formed by CBI to investigate the case, Special CBI teams are being sent to Patna and Godhra where cases have been registered by the local police

Earlier in the UGC-NET matter, the CBI started the investigation by registering a regular case against unknown people under sections of fraud and conspiracy, following a complaint of the Ministry of Education.

The government had handed over the matter to CBI after over a week of the eruption of the controversy, which triggering protests by the students and political parties.

What did the government say on NEET-UG?

"National Testing Agency (NTA) conducted NEET(UG) Examination on 5th May 2024 in OMR (Pen and paper) mode. Certain cases of alleged irregularities / cheating / impersonation / malpractices have been reported. For transparency on the conduct of the examination process, the Ministry of Education, Government of India after a review has decided to entrust the matter to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) for comprehensive investigation. Central Government has also enacted the Public Examination (Prevention of Unfair Means) Act, 2024, to prevent unfair means in the public examinations and to provide for matter connected therewith or incidental thereto," the government said.

"Government is committed to ensure the sanctity of examinations and protect the interest of students. It is reiterated that any individual/ organization found to be involved will face strictest action," it added.

What is NEET-UG controversy?

The NEET-UG 2024 exam was conducted on May 5 and its results were declared on June 4, ahead of its scheduled announcement date of June 14. Protests were held alleging irregularities and paper leaks as the results showed that as many as 67 students had topped the exam with a perfect score of 720. Petitions have been filed in courts by students seeking a re-test. The Supreme Court has allowed are-test of over 1,500 students who were awarded "grace marks.

On June 13, the NTA informed the Supreme Court that the scorecards of 1563 candidates who were awarded "grace marks" in the NEET-UG 2024 exam would be cancelled and these candidates would have an option to reappear for the exam on June 23, the results of which will be declared before June 30, or forgo the compensatory marks given for the loss of time.

NTA under criticism over alleged irregularities in exams

The National Testing Agency (NTA), which conducted the NEET-UG exams, is facing criticism over alleged irregularities in the exams. This resulted in several protests across the country with protestors and political parties demanding to disband the NTA. An unprecedented 67 candidates achieved a perfect score of 720 marks out of 720, which added to the concerns.

The Ministry of Education said it has constituted a high-level committee of experts to make recommendations on reforms in the mechanism of the examination process, improvements in data security protocols and the functioning of the NTA. The 7-member committee, led by ISRO former chairman Dr K Radhakrishnan, will submit its report to the ministry in the next two months.

"In order to ensure transparent, smooth and fair conduct of examinations through National Testing Agency (NTA), Department of Higher Education, Ministry of Education constituted a High-Level Committee of Experts to make recommendations on Reform in mechanism of examination process improvement in data security protocols and structure and functioning of National Testing Agency," the ministry said.

ALSO READ | Government sacks exam body NTA's director general Subodh Kumar amid paper leak row

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