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CBI arrests 'mastermind' of NEET-UG paper leak in Patna

More than twelve individuals, comprising the headmaster and deputy headmaster of a school in Hazaribagh, Jharkhand, have been taken into custody thus far as the CBI and multiple state police agencies probe a nationwide conspiracy.

Reported by:  PTC News Desk  Edited by:  Annesha Barua -- July 11th 2024 05:24 PM -- Updated: July 11th 2024 07:18 PM
CBI arrests 'mastermind' of NEET-UG paper leak in Patna

CBI arrests 'mastermind' of NEET-UG paper leak in Patna

PTC News Desk: According to reports, the CBI has detained Rakesh Ranjan, also known as Rocky, who is thought to be the main suspect in the NEET paper leak case. This was reported on Thursday afternoon.

For ten days, Ranjan will be under the agency's supervision. This occurs at the same time as four locations—two in Bihar near Patna and two in West Bengal near Kolkata—are being raided by the CBI.

A nationwide scam involving the leakage of question papers for competitive exams such as NEET has resulted in the arrest of over a dozen persons so far, including the principal and vice-principal of a school in Hazaribagh, Jharkhand, according to the CBI and several state police agencies.

A Patna student was taken into custody last week.

With the exception of Rocky, the CBI has detained eight people in relation to this investigation.

The agency, tasked with looking into the exam paper fraud across the country, has so far filed six FIRs, or first information reports, five of which are related to three different incidents in Bihar.

According to CBI officials who spoke with NDTV on Wednesday, the Hazaribagh school may have been the source of the NEET paper leak. Bihar also received papers that were leaked from there, according to a CBI official.

The CBI official gave an explanation of what happened, stating that two days prior to the exam's scheduled May 5 date, nine sets of exam papers arrived at a State Bank of India branch for safety. After that, two sets were delivered to the exam center, Oasis School in Hazaribagh, and by the time they got there, the seals had been broken.

According to agency sources, Rocky was there when the sealed question papers were opened.

He photographed the questions and distributed them to "solver gangs," a term used to describe a coordinated ring that offers solutions to papers that have been leaked. These were then distributed to test takers who were attempting to cheat for fees that reached the lakhs.

Rocky is also connected to Sanjeev Mukhiya, another important player in this scheme who has been absconding for 20 years.

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Even while the courts argue over the magnitude of the question paper leak, Ranjan's, or Rocky's, arrest might blow the lid off the NEET case. According to the government and testing bodies, the breach has only affected a small number of students in specific areas.

Although the precise location of the paper leak is unknown, CBI sources stated that the evidence suggests that it happened—either from the bank branch, during the transfer to the school, or from the school itself.

Examining candidates for undergraduate medical programs must pass the NEET-UG.

After the results were released last month, controversy surrounding the almost 24 lakh students who took the May 5 exam broke out. The remarkably high number of perfect scores—67 pupils, including six from one coaching center—were the first cause for concern. They achieved a maximum of 720. Concerns were also raised regarding the 1,563 students' "grace marks," which the NTA claimed were not test protocol.

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Concerns were also raised over the 1,563 students who received "grace marks."

Last week, those pupils took a retest, but hundreds of them did not show up.

The National Testing Agency, the organization in charge of administering the NEET exam, received notice of the entire dispute from the Supreme Court.

Defending itself against allegations that the NEET paper was leaked on the widely used messaging app Telegram, the NTA called such photographs "fake" today. The NTA claimed that the screenshots published on Telegram were "fabricated" in an affidavit that was filed on Wednesday.

Additionally, according to the NTA, no NEET-UG question paper was discovered to be missing, and no locks on the boxes holding the papers in Bihar were broken.

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The NTA went on to attempt to explain the anomalously high percentage of high-scoring exams on this year's test by stating that "differences in new and old editions" of a textbook meant that a question had two correct answers. After it was taken out, the agency stated that there were really just 17 toppers, "which is not significantly higher in numbers than previous years".

Numerous petitions asking for the cancelation of the NEET-UG 2024 exam are being heard by the court.

On Monday, the court declared that it was not for this kind of action.

Therefore, the three-judge panel led by Chief Justice DY Chandrachud stated that it was reluctant to order a retest for around 24 lakh students—many of whom are from low-income households and cannot afford to pay for their transportation to test locations—unless absolutely required. The "last option" is to retake the test, it claimed.

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- With inputs from agencies

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