CBI takes over 5 cases of alleged malpractices in NEET-UG from Bihar, Gujarat and Rajasthan

Media persons outside the Economic Offences Unit (EOU) office as a team of CBI arrives here to probe into the alleged rregularities in NEET-UG exam, in Patna, Monday, June 24, 2024.
Media persons outside the Economic Offences Unit (EOU) office as a team of CBI arrives here to probe into the alleged rregularities in NEET-UG exam, in Patna, Monday, June 24, 2024.

New Delhi | The CBI has taken over the investigation of five new cases of alleged malpractices in the medical entrance exam NEET-UG that were being probed by police in Gujarat, Rajasthan and Bihar, officials said on Monday.

They said the central agency has re-registered one case each from Gujarat and Bihar and three cases from Rajasthan as its own FIR, while it is also likely to take up another case from Maharashtra's Latur.

Barring the case from Bihar, the other four appear to be isolated incidents of impersonation and cheating by local officials, invigilators and candidates, the officials said.

The CBI has already registered its own FIR in connection with the case on a reference from the Union education ministry to conduct a comprehensive probe, they said.

After taking over these new cases, the CBI is now probing a total of six cases pertaining to alleged irregularities in NEET-UG, the officials said.

NEET-UG is conducted by the National Testing Agency (NTA) for admissions to MBBS, BDS, AYUSH and other related courses in government and private institutions across the country.

The examination was conducted on May 5 at 4,750 centres in 571 cities, including 14 abroad. Over 23 lakh candidates appeared for the test.

The first CBI FIR was registered on Sunday, a day after the ministry announced it would hand over the probe into the alleged irregularities in the conduct of the exam to the central agency, a demand raised by a section of students protesting in several cities.

"The ministry of education has requested the CBI to conduct a comprehensive investigation into the entire gamut of alleged irregularities, including conspiracy, cheating, impersonation, breach of trust and destruction of evidence by candidates, institutes and middlemen," a CBI spokesperson said earlier.

The role of public servants, if any, connected with the conduct of the examination and also into the entire gamut of events and the larger conspiracy will also be under the scanner, officials have said.

Maharashtra connection in alleged NEET irregularities: ZP school headmaster held, teacher detained

Latur | The Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) has arrested a Zilla Parishad school headmaster from Latur in Maharashtra and detained a teacher after it emerged that at least four persons operated a racket to help NEET students willing to pay money to crack the exam, police said on Monday.

Police arrested Jalil Khan Umar Khan Pathan, the headmaster of a ZP school late Sunday night, and detained another ZP school teacher Sanjay Jadhav on Monday for questioning. According to police, both teachers also run a private coaching centre.

An FIR has been registered against Jadhav, Pathan, Iranna Mashnaji Kongalwar from Nanded and one Gangadhar, a resident of Delhi under the Public Examinations (Prevention of Unfair Means) Act, 2024.

Pathan was on Monday remanded in police custody till July 2 by a local court

"ATS officials had received a tip-off that some suspects were running an illegal racket to help NEET students pass the exam in exchange for money," stated a release issued by the office of the Latur district superintendent of police.

Subsequently, the ATS detained Jadhav and Pathan from Latur on Saturday night for questioning.

According to police, suspicious information regarding the NEET 2024 exam was found in the mobile phone of one of the detained persons.

The investigation so far revealed the references to monetary transactions made by one of the accused Kongalwar with Delhi resident Gangadhar, an official said.

Prima facie, Kongalwar used to act as a mediator who would collect admit cards of NEET aspirants from two teachers- Pathan and Jadhav.

"After cards are collected, an advance payment of Rs 50,000 used to be made to Gangadhar and the admit cards would be sent to him. The deal would be typically finalised at Rs 5 lakh (per student for facilitating paper leak)," the official said.

Konagalwar, posted at an ITI in Umarga in the Dharashiv district in Marathwada region, was in contact with Gangadhar.

The official said police teams have been fanned out to trace Kongalwar.

Jadhav appeared to be in a disturbed state of mind and possibly considering self-harm, the official said.

"He has been detained and questioning is on. As of now, he is not formally arrested," he added.

Meanwhile, Pathan's cupboard at Katpur where he was posted as the headmaster has been sealed and his duties have been assigned to another teacher.

The investigation showed that Pathan has been absent from school since June 20 but he signed the duty muster on June 20 and 21.

The block education officer has submitted a report to senior authorities, officials said, adding that a proposal to suspend Pathan will be moved.

According to police, Kongalwar used to travel to the ITI in Umarga from Latur. He had applied for leave on Monday and Tuesday.

The investigating officer Bhagwat Funde didn't pick up repeated calls.

The ATS action came after the Centre handed over the probe into the alleged irregularities in the medical entrance exam- NEET-UG- to the CBI, giving in to demands of students protesting across the country for an investigation into the matter.

The CBI subsequently filed an FIR into the alleged irregularities in the exam conducted on May 5.

Bigger racket involved, claims Shiv Sena (UBT) MP after first arrest in Maharashtra

Mumbai | In a dig at the Centre, Shiv Sena (UBT) MP Anil Desai on Monday said addressing the NEET-UG row requires more than arresting a few individuals and claimed the involvement of a broader network in the case.

"The entire reputation has been tarnished because of NEET. Simply arresting one or two officers will not resolve the issue. There is an extensive racket at work," alleged the Mumbai South Central MP.

Desai's criticism comes in the wake of the Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) arresting a Zilla Parishad school teacher from Latur in Maharashtra and registering a case against four persons for allegedly operating a racket to help NEET students willing to pay money to crack the exam.

Desai further highlighted the importance of securing the future for the youth, saying there is no meaning in talking about development and India becoming a superpower.

"The youth and the entire generation are questioning the direction of their future. If we cannot ensure a secure future for our youth, then discussions about India's development and superpower status are meaningless," he added.

The CBI on Sunday filed an FIR into alleged irregularities in the medical entrance exam NEET-UG, conducted last month, and dispatched teams to a couple of states for wider investigation.

ED arrests 2022 JKSSB sub-inspector exam paper leak case 'kingpin'

Jammu | The Enforcement Directorate on Monday arrested the alleged mastermind of the 2022 JKSSB sub-inspector recruitment exam paper leak case as part of a money-laundering investigation, official sources said.

Yatin Yadav, a suspected tout, was arrested in Jammu under criminal sections of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA), the sources said.

The Jammu and Kashmir Services Selection Board (JKSSB) sub-inspector recruitment exam was held on March 27, 2022.

The Enforcement Directorate (ED) case stems from a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) FIR and charge sheet.

Being the "kingpin" of the alleged paper leak gang, Yadav executed a well-crafted plan involving other accused touts based in Haryana and Jammu and Kashmir to arrange candidates willing to access the leaked paper against monetary payments ranging from Rs 15 lakh to Rs 30 lakh, the sources said.

Post examination, the payments collected from the aspirants -- mainly in cash -- were routed to Yadav's bank accounts, they said.

The ED had earlier attached Yadav's bank accounts, a company called New Global Fumigation Corporation and assets of some others worth Rs 1 crore as part of its probe.

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