NEET UG paper leak: After EOU almost nails it, all eyes on CBI to take it to conclusive end | Competitive Exams - Hindustan Times
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NEET UG paper leak: After EOU almost nails it, all eyes on CBI to take it to conclusive end

Jun 25, 2024 02:45 PM IST

A senior official of the EOU said that the matter would have been cracked by now had NTA provided the samples of question papers to match with burnt booklet.

The NEET-UG investigation has finally reached the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), but it remains to be seen how quickly the matter reaches its conclusive end after the exhaustive probe by the Economic Offence Unit (EOU) of the Bihar Police, which has so far been able to blow the lid off the alleged corruption at multiple levels.

Economic Offences Unit officials leave with the accused arrested in the NEET paper leak case, in Patna, on Sunday. (PTI)(PTI file)
Economic Offences Unit officials leave with the accused arrested in the NEET paper leak case, in Patna, on Sunday. (PTI)(PTI file)

A senior official of the EOU said that the matter would have been cracked by now had the National Testing Agency (NTA) provided the samples of the question papers to match with the burnt booklet recovered a day before the NEET exam on May 5 from Patna.

“It was not sent and we could get it only on June 20 when the EOU was called to Delhi and the issue was raised as to why the samples were not sent despite three reminders. We got it there and soon it was discovered which centre the booklet belonged to. We could match 68 questions right there. Thereafter, the attention shifted to the centre, which was Oasis School, Hazaribagh,” he added.

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The official said that with the matter now handed over to the CBI with all credible evidences collected in course of the probe, which pointed to the involvement of someone from the NTA having access to confidential information, it was for the apex investigation agency to take it forward.

Soon after the Hazaribagh link was established, a team under an Additional SP was sent for a through examination of the boxes in which questions were transported to the centre and both were found tampered and the centre superintendent informed how the digital locks could not be opened due to their priming for a certain period and ultimately it had to be broken on the direction from the NTA.

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“There were two boxes and both had their seals tampered from the rear side, while the front portion was intact. The boxes had two locks each - one manual and one digital. The suspicion of the officials grew after their found the latches and the hinges tampered and the seal over them was also affected. Inside the boxes, the envelopes were also found tampered from the rear side, while the upper portion was intact. We have sent all the collected evidences to the Central Forensic Science Laboratory (CFSL),” he added.

The official said that the probe has already reached an advanced stage, clearly establishing the tampering of the boxes carrying question papers to compromise the sanctity of the questions. “The digital locks can get automatically locked if any attempt is made to open them with wrong quotes. We don’t know if such a situation arose at other centres also and how many and if the seals had to be broken there also and by whose order,” he added.

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Additional Director General (EPU) NH Khan said that the matter was now with the CBI and EOU would hand over the probe thus far for further investigation with whatever credible evidences it has been able to collect. “We also have to submit our report to the Supreme Court and that we will do in a sealed envelope with the up to date status of our investigation and evidences gathered thus far,” he added.

While NEET-UG hogged limelight in Bihar even before the exam with 13 arrests on the eve and eight more later after the probe extended to Jharkhand, the allegations of links surfacing in Gujarat and Rajasthan, the CBI would have its hands full. The matter has already provided just the right ammunition to the Opposition, which is leaving no opportunity to attack the government for trying to hush up the case.

The government has already shown the impact of the pressure by removing the grace marks awarded to 1563 students, and barely half of them taking the retest organised for them, removing the NTA director general and handing over the probe to the CBI, which registered a criminal case based on a written complaint from the ministry of education.

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