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The CBI filed an FIR on Sunday in connection with alleged irregularities in the medical entrance exam NEET-UG held on May 5

NEW DELHI: The CBI filed an FIR on Sunday in connection with alleged irregularities in the medical entrance exam NEET-UG held on May 5 on a ...





NEW DELHI: The CBI filed an FIR on Sunday in connection with alleged irregularities in the medical entrance exam NEET-UG held on May 5 on a reference from the Union education ministry, amid countrywide protests and litigation by students for a probe into paper leak claims. Officials said the ministry alleged in a complaint, now part of the FIR, to the agency that "certain isolated incidents" occurred in a few states during the conduct of the examination. Giving top priority to the case, the CBI has sent special teams to Godhra and Patna, where cases of question paper leaks have been registered by police, they said.


The Gujarat government, meanwhile, issued a notification on Sunday, handing over the probe to the CBI. Additional Chief Secretary A K Rakesh issued the notification handing over the case registered at the Godhra Taluka police station on May 8 under IPC sections related to criminal conspiracy, cheating and criminal breach of trust among others. The central agency plans to take over the investigation of the cases registered by the police in Gujarat and Bihar, the officials said. The CBI action came a day after the ministry announced it would hand over the probe into the alleged irregularities to the central agency, a demand raised by a section of protesting students.




Education Ministry hands NEET UG probe to CBI


"The ministry of education has requested the CBI to conduct a comprehensive investigation into the entire gamut of alleged irregularities, including conspiracy, cheating, impersonation, breach of trust and destruction of evidence by candidates, institutes and middlemen," a CBI spokesperson said. The role of public servants, if any, connected with the conduct of the examination and also into the entire gamut of events, and the larger conspiracy will also be under the scanner, according to the officials. They said the agency registered a fresh case against unidentified persons under IPC sections 120-B (criminal conspiracy) and 420 (cheating) among others.




"Certain cases of alleged irregularities, cheating, impersonation and malpractice have been reported in NEET-UG which was conducted on May 5," a senior education ministry official said on Saturday. "For transparency in the conduct of the examination process, it was decided after a review that the matter be handed over to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) for a comprehensive investigation," the official had said.




NEET UG irregularities sparked protests


The allegations of irregularities sparked protests in several cities, litigation and a political slugfest, with the opposition accusing the government of toying with the future of students. Ten aspirants have approached the Supreme Court, seeking directions to the CBI and the ED to investigate the alleged irregularities in the NEET-UG. The petition has also sought a direction to the Bihar Police to expedite the investigation in the case and file a report before the apex court. In a separate matter, the Supreme Court sought responses from the Center, the NTA and others on various petitions, including those seeking cancellation of the NEET-UG 2024 exam and a court-monitored investigation.




Centre scraps grace marks, announces retest


The Supreme Court also halted proceedings on similar petitions in various high courts. The examination was conducted by the National Testing Agency (NTA) on May 5 at 4,750 centres in 571 cities, including 14 cities abroad. Over 23 lakh candidates took the test. As many as 67 students scored a perfect 720, unprecedented in the NTA's history, with six from a centre in Haryana's Faridabad figuring in the list, raising suspicions about irregularities. There was also a controversy over grace marks awarded to students to make up for the loss of time at six centres. The Centre later told the apex court that the grace marks were being scrapped and these 1,563 students would be given an option of a NEET retest.




Centre replaces NTA director general


The NEET-UG examination is conducted by the NTA for admissions to MBBS, BDS, AYUSH and other related courses in government and private institutions across the country. Facing flak over alleged discrepancies in competitive exams, the Centre on Saturday shunted out NTA Director General Subodh Singh and set up a seven-member panel headed by former ISRO chief K Radhakrishnan to review the agency's functioning and recommend exam reforms. It postponed the NEET-PG entrance, the fourth entrance exam to be impacted in recent days.