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NEET UG paper leak: After EOU comes close, all eyes on CBI to bring investigation to a conclusion

Senior EOU officials stated that if NTA had supplied sample question papers that matched the burned booklet, the issue would have been resolved by now.

Reported by:  PTC News Desk  Edited by:  Annesha Barua -- June 25th 2024 02:34 PM
NEET UG paper leak: After EOU comes close, all eyes on CBI to bring investigation to a conclusion

NEET UG paper leak: After EOU comes close, all eyes on CBI to bring investigation to a conclusion

PTC News Desk: The NEET-UG investigation has finally reached the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), but it is unclear how soon the matter will be resolved after the in-depth investigation conducted by the Bihar Police's Economic Offence Unit (EOU), which has so far been successful in exposing the alleged corruption at several levels.

Senior EOU officials stated that if the National Testing Agency (NTA) had supplied sample question papers to correspond with the burned booklet found the day before the May 5 NEET exam in Patna, the issue would have been resolved by now.

"It was not sent, and we didn't receive it until June 20 when the EOU was summoned to Delhi and the question of why the samples hadn't been sent in spite of three reminders was brought up. As soon as we arrived, the center to which the pamphlet belonged was identified. That would be 68 queries that we could match. The focus then turned to the Oasis School in Hazaribagh, which was the center," he continued.

The official stated that because the subject had been turned over to the CBI and all reliable evidence had been gathered throughout the investigation that suggested that an NTA employee had gained access to classified material, the matter should now be handled by the top investigative body.

Soon after the Hazaribagh link was established, a team led by an Additional SP was dispatched to thoroughly inspect the boxes containing the questions that were transported to the center. Both boxes were discovered to have been tampered with, and the superintendent of the center explained that the digital locks could not be opened because they were primed for a specific amount of time; eventually, they had to be broken on the NTA's instruction.

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The front of the two boxes was undamaged, but the seals on the back had been tampered with. Each of the boxes featured a manual and a digital lock. When it was discovered that the locks, hinges, and seal covering them had all been tampered with, the officials' suspicions increased. The envelopes were also discovered within the boxes, with the upper part intact but the back side tampered with. He continued, "We have forwarded the Central Forensic Science Laboratory (CFSL) all of the gathered material.

According to the official, the investigation has progressed to a point where it is evident that the boxes containing the question papers were tampered with in order to jeopardize the integrity of the questions. "Any effort to open the digital locks with incorrect quotes may result in them being immediately locked. We don't know if or not similar circumstances occurred at other centers, how many times they did, whether the seals had to be broken there as well, or by whom," he continued.

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Additional Director General (EPU) NH Khan stated that the CBI was now handling the case and that the EOU will turn over the current probe, along with whatever reliable evidence it had managed to gather, for additional investigation. He continued, "We will also submit our report to the Supreme Court in a sealed envelope with the most recent information regarding the status of our investigation and the evidence we have so far gathered."

The CBI would have its hands busy, as NEET-UG grabbed headlines in Bihar even before the exam, with 13 arrests made on the eve of the exam and eight more as the investigation was extended to Jharkhand due to linkages revealing in Gujarat and Rajasthan. The Opposition already has the perfect excuse to criticize the government for trying to cover up the case because the subject has given them just the proper weapons.

The government removed the NTA director general and turned over the investigation to the CBI, which filed a criminal case after receiving a written complaint from the students, demonstrating the impact of the pressure by taking away the grace marks granted to 1563 students and only about half of them taking the retest that was scheduled for them.

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- With inputs from agencies

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