CBI Takes Charge of NEET-UG Paper Leak Investigation

Central Agency Initiates Probe into Alleged Malpractice in Multiple States.

Godhra, Gujarat – In a significant development, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has officially taken over the investigation into the alleged malpractice in the NEET-UG exam held at Jai Jalaram School in Parvadi village, Godhra. This move comes a day after the Gujarat government handed the case to the central agency, aiming to ensure a thorough and impartial probe.

CBI Team Arrives in Godhra

A CBI team arrived in Godhra on Monday to take over the case. The team is expected to move the district court to seek custody of the five individuals currently in judicial custody for interrogation. These individuals include Tushar Bhatt, the superintendent of the NEET center at the school; Purshottam Sharma, the school principal; Vibor Anand, an education consultant; Parshuram Roy, the owner of a Vadodara-based immigration agency; and local resident Arif Vohra.

CBI Takes Charge of NEET-UG Paper Leak Investigation

Comprehensive Inquiry Report Handed Over

The Panchmahal district police handed over a detailed 1,000-page inquiry report to the CBI team. The report includes crucial evidence such as Digital Video Recordings (DVR) of alleged meetings between the accused a day before the examination, advance cheques totaling Rs 2.3 crore paid by students, and other materials. Additionally, a panchnama of Rs 7 lakh seized from the vehicle of one of the accused during a raid by the District Education Department on May 5 was also provided.

The FIR and Alleged Conspiracy

The FIR, based on a complaint filed by Panchmahal District Education Officer Kiritkumar Patel on May 8, outlines a criminal conspiracy to help at least 26 students clear the NEET exam using unfair means. The complaint alleges that the accused planned for students to attempt only the questions they could solve, leaving the rest blank for agents to fill in after the exam. The attempted malpractice was reportedly foiled during a raid at the NEET center following an input from the Panchmahal collector.

Legal Charges

The accused face charges under several sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), including:

  • Section 406: Criminal breach of trust
  • Section 409: Criminal breach of trust by a public servant or agent
  • Section 420: Cheating and dishonesty
  • Section 120(B): Criminal conspiracy

Expansion of Investigation

The CBI’s mandate extends beyond Gujarat, with similar cases in Rajasthan and Bihar also under its purview. The scandal has implicated key figures across these states, including Chintu, Prabhat Ranjan, Sanjeev Mukhia, and Manish Prakash in Bihar. Prakash, who arranged accommodations for NEET examinees, is currently absconding.

Evidence from Bihar

In Bihar, crucial evidence includes mixed-up NEET question papers found at the Learn and Play School in Khemni Chak, Patna, rented overnight by Prakash. Burnt question papers discovered at this location have been pivotal to the ongoing investigation, revealing a network of malpractice stretching across state lines.

Allegations and Arrests

In a related incident, a video surfaced in March 2024 accusing Vishal Chaurasia, already imprisoned for leaking the Bihar Police recruitment exam paper, of planning to leak the NEET UG paper as well. The video, featuring Vijendra Gupta, claims that Chaurasia used courier services to leak exam papers, bypassing traditional printing press methods.

NEET Paper Leak Impact

The NEET paper leak has sparked nationwide outrage, prompting the handover of the investigation to the CBI. Burnt NEET papers and other incriminating materials were found during the Bihar Police recruitment investigation in October 2023, leading to the arrest of 13 individuals, including MBBS students acting as solvers.

Looking Forward

The CBI’s involvement is expected to bring a more rigorous and comprehensive investigation, ensuring accountability and justice. The agency’s next steps will include interrogating the accused, analyzing the extensive evidence, and unravelling the full extent of the malpractice network.

Conclusion

The NEET-UG paper leak scandal has highlighted significant vulnerabilities in the examination process, necessitating stringent measures to safeguard the integrity of competitive exams in India. As the investigation unfolds, more details are likely to emerge, shedding light on the extent of the malpractice and the individuals involved.

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