50% aspirants skip NEET-UG retest; CBI gears up to takes up case

Director general of NTA Subodh Kumar Singh has been removed from his post on Saturday night, in the wake of allegations of irregularities in the conduct of the NEET-UG and UGC-NET exams

NEET-UG retest

New Delhi: Over 50% medical aspirants, who were earlier awarded grace marks and asked to take the retest skipped NEET-UG examination, which was held on Sunday, officials said.

The retest was conducted at seven centres following an order from the Supreme Court. As many as 813 students out of the total 1,563 aspirants, did not appear at the examination centre for re-test.

The National Testing Agency, (NTA), which conducts the NEET-UG exam, had offered grace marks to make up for the loss of time at six centres, where the examination started late on May 5.

Also Read: Centre tells EOU to submit report on NEET-UG question paper leak

The NTA, meanwhile, debarred as many as 17 students from the NEET-UG exam for their suspicious roles during the conduct of the exam on May 5. These students had appeared for the test at centres in Bihar. The agency had earlier debarred 63 candidates for adopting unfair means in the exam. On Saturday, 30 additional candidates from Gujarat’s Godhara were also debarred.

The NEET-UG exam, administered by the NTA on May 5, took place across 4,750 centers in 571 cities, including 1 international locations. Over 23 lakh candidates participated in the examination.

Also Read: Fearing question paper leak, NBEMS postpones NEET-PG exam

NTA director general removed

Director general of NTA Subodh Kumar Singh has been removed from his post on Saturday night, in the wake of allegations of irregularities in the conduct of the NEET-UG and UGC-NET exams. He has been put on compulsory wait in the department of personnel and training (DoPT). A retired 1985 batch officer Pradeep Singh Karola has taken over as the new head of NTA, until a regular chief is appointed or further orders.

Also Read: Fearing irregularities, Centre cancels UGC-NET exam held in June

Over the last two months, the NTA has been in the middle of a row over alleged irregularities and paper leaks in two of the country’s biggest competitive examinations.

EOU arrests five key conspirators in question paper leak

The economic offences unit (EOU) of Bihar Police, which was inquiring into the alleged question paper leak in the NEET-UG examination, nabbed five key persons suspected to be involved in the malpractices from Jharkhand’s Deoghar district. The arrested persons were identified as Panku Kumar, Parmjeet Singh alias Bittu, Chintu alias Baldeo Kumar, Ajeet Kumar and Rajeev Kumar, the EOU said in a press statement. “All of them will be sent to Beur jail after completing formalities,” said the EOU officer.

Also Read: Students allege CTET question paper leak, CBSE maintains silence

EOU arrested 18 persons in the case

With five more persons, the EOU has so far nabbed 18 persons from different locations in connection with the question paper leak case. “We are trying to carry out brain mapping and narco-analysis tests of certain accused. These scientific tests may provide certain fresh leads to investigators,” said an officer, adding that a narco-analysis test involves intravenous administration of a drug that causes the subject to enter into a stage of anaesthesia, during which the person becomes less inhibited and is more likely to divulge information, which would usually not be revealed in the conscious state.

EOU team visits Hazaribagh, Ranchi

A three-member probe team of EOU visited various schools in Hazaribagh, which served as exam centres for National Eligibility cum Entrance Test-Under Graduate (NEET-UG 2024), and inquired from the centre in-charge about mechanism to open digital locks of question paper boxes and conduct of the test.

Also Read: NEET-UG row: NTA gears up to conduct re-test of 1,563 students

Though the EOU officials refused to divulge anything regarding the inquiry in to leakage of question papers in course of transportation, one of the centres’ in-charge, wishing anonymity, said that he was asked how digital locks, which generally malfunctioned, of the question paper boxes were open. Suspecting foul play in the exam at several centres, the EOU team questioned principal of Oasis School and other schools in Hazaribagh, where NEET UG exam was conducted at seven centres.

The EOU sleuths also visited the Rajendra Institute of Medical Sciences (RIMS), Ranchi, to explore the possibility of roping in its students in solve the question papers for others.

Also Read: Parents paid up to ₹50 lakh to get NEET question paper: EOU

EOU prepares to transfer probe case to the CBI

The EOU in a press statement said that the case pertaining to the NEET-UG question paper leak case is being handed over to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) for further investigation. The EOU took over the case on May 17 and had raided a boys hostel in Srikrishna Nagar to arrest two key conspirators in the case. Baldeo Kumar alias Chintu, who was arrested from Deoghar, is a member of the professional gang of Sanjiv Kumar alias Lutan Mukhia. Mukhia gang is notorious for getting the question papers of competitive exams out.

The EOU said that its sleuths found evidence of the attempts to tamper with the question paper boxes at Oasis School. Its team also questioned the local State Bank of India (SBI), where the question papers were kept in the locker and recorded statement of officials of Blue Dart courier company in Ranchi, which shipped the question papers.

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