NEET-UG case: CBI nabs two from Patna, records statements of candidates in Godhra

The CBI has made first arrests in the NEET-UG paper leak case, taking into custody two persons from Patna, officials said Thursday.
Men arrested in the NEET-UG paper leak case being taken to custody following their medical check-up at LNJP hospital, in Patna, Thursday, June 27, 2024.
Men arrested in the NEET-UG paper leak case being taken to custody following their medical check-up at LNJP hospital, in Patna, Thursday, June 27, 2024.

New Delhi/Ahmedabad | The CBI on Thursday made its first arrests in the NEET-UG paper leak case, taking two people in custody in Patna while three candidates in Gujarat who had allegedly solicited help to clear the exam recorded their statements with the probe agency, officials said.

The two arrested accused -- Manish Kumar and Ashutosh Kumar -- allegedly provided safe accommodation to the medical entrance exam aspirants before the examination and gave them leaked question papers and answer keys, they said.

Both were produced before a special court in Patna which sent them to judicial custody, the officials said, adding the CBI will now seek the duo's remand to quiz them.

Ashutosh Kumar had allegedly taken 'Learn Boys Hostel and Play School' in Patna on rent from where the Economic Offence Unit of Bihar Police had recovered half-burnt question papers of the National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test (Undergraduate), they said.

The CBI has found that Ashutosh Kumar knew the premises was being used for providing question papers to NEET aspirants, officials said.

About Manish Kumar, they said that he allegedly struck deals with candidates who were ready to pay money for getting the question papers in advance.

He then brought these candidates to the hostel where the question papers and answer keys were provided to them, officials said, adding the aspirants stayed in the hostel and prepared for the exam held on May 5.

The federal probe agency continued its action in Gujarat as well where three aspirants, who had allegedly paid an accused to help them clear the medical entrance test, recorded their statements.

The CBI has approached a special court in Godhra, seeking the remand of five accused who were arrested by the Gujarat police in connection with the paper leak case.

The matter is likely to come up for hearing on Friday, officials said.

The Gujarat police had arrested five people, including the principal and a teacher of a school in Godhra, in connection with the paper leak case.

According to an FIR registered on May 8 by the Godhra police, the racket was unearthed after the Panchmahal district collector received a tip-off that some people were involved in malpractices linked to the exam.

Since the tip-off was received in advance, authorities prevented malpractices at the centre (Jay Jalaram School in Godhra) and the exam was conducted without a hitch, the FIR stated.

Besides recording the statements of the three NEET-UG candidates on Thursday, CBI officials also quizzed their parents and Dixit Patel, the owner of Jay Jalaram School, an official said.

The school run by Patel was one of the centres of the NEET-UG exam on May 5.

The CBI teams visited Patel's two schools -- Jay Jalaram International School on the Sevaliya-Balasinor highway in Kheda district and Jay Jalaram School in Godhra in Panchmahal district.

Jay Jalaram School's physics teacher Tushar Bhatt, principal Parshottam Sharma, Vadodara-based education consultant Parsuram Roy, his aide Vibhor Anand and alleged middleman Arif Vohra were arrested by the police.

The CBI has registered six FIRs in the NEET-UG paper leak case which included its own FIR on a reference from the Union Education Ministry and five from the states where it took over investigation. The probe agency has taken over one case each in Bihar and Gujarat and three cases in Rajasthan.

NEET-UG is conducted by the National Testing Agency for admissions to MBBS, BDS, AYUSH and other related courses in government and private institutions across the country. This year's exam 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.

The demand for a CBI probe was raised by a section of protesting students.

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