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NEET-UG Paper Leak Had Genesis In Hazaribagh, Zeroing-In On School: CBI Officials

NEET-UG Paper Leak Had Genesis In Hazaribagh, Zeroing-In On School: CBI Officials

The CBI has arrested 11 people so far.

New Delhi:

The NEET-UG paper leak that has put a question mark over the future of nearly 24 lakh students has its origins in Jharkhand’s Hazaribagh and has strong links to officials from one of its most prominent schools, a CBI investigation has revealed.ย 

Papers leaked from the city also made their way to Bihar, where the agency has made several arrests in the case, a CBI official said, adding that they have also found evidence to indicate the involvement of a solver gang in the leak.ย 

Explaining the sequence of events, the CBI official said nine sets of papers for the exam, which was supposed to be held on May 5, reached a State Bank of India branch two days earlier for safekeeping. From there, two sets were transported to the Oasis School in Hazaribagh, which was a centre for the exam, and the seals on them were broken by the time they reached the school.

The principal of Oasis School, Ehsanul Haque, who was the coordinator of the medical entrance exam for the entire district, and vice-principal Imtiaz Alam, who had been designated the National Testing Agency’s (NTA’s) observer and coordinator for the school, did not, however, bring the glaring lapse to the notice of the NTA.

While this pointed the needle of suspicion at them, what confirmed their involvement for the Economic Offences Wing of the Bihar Police, which was initially investigating the case, was evidence found at a safe house in Patna where two other accused in the NEET scam had given the question papers to nearly 30 candidates a day before the exam, at a cost of Rs 30-50 lakh each.ย 

A partially burnt question paper in the safe house bore the same code as the papers that were meant for the Oasis School in Hazaribagh.

Chain Of Custody

CBI sources said that while it is not clear exactly where the papers were leaked from, what the evidence points to is the fact that it was: (i) Either from the SBI branch (ii) While in transit to the school or (iii) From the Oasis School itself. What is clear, however, they said, is the involvement of Mr Haque and Mr Alam, who had a key role in conducting the exam not only in the school but also in the district.

The school principal, vice-principal and a local journalist, Jamaluddin, who allegedly helped them carry out the paper leak, were arrested by the CBI on June 29.ย 

Evidence, the sources said, also points to the involvement of the notorious Sanjeev Kumar alias Lutan Mukhiya gang, who have been involved in paper leaks before. The gang got the NEET paper from the accused and took it to their safe house in Patna, where the burnt document was found.ย 

Testing Agency Silent?

The CBI official said the agency had alerted the Bihar Police about the possible leak on May 5 itself and that’s what led them to the safe house.ย 

On May 19, the official claimed, the Economic Offences Unit wrote to the National Testing Agency, which conducts NEET, and asked which centre the code from the burnt paper matched. They got no response and the Oasis School link was conclusively established only on June 21, when, during a meeting held by Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla, the NTA officials told him that the code was from the Hazaribagh school.ย 

Wider Net

On Tuesday, the CBI arrested two more persons in the paper leak case. One of them is a candidate while the other is the father of another candidate. This has taken its total number of arrests in the case to 11.ย 

The agency is also now probing the involvement of 22 people who allegedly appeared for the exam on behalf of some of the candidates.ย 

The CBI is investigating six cases related to the NEET-UG exam. The First Information Report from Bihar pertains to a paper leak, while the remaining – from Gujarat, Rajasthan and Maharashtra – ย are related to impersonation and cheating.

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