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CBI registers case to probe alleged irregularities in NEET-UG examination on education ministry’s complaint, teams to be sent to Bihar and Gujarat

Special teams have been formed by the CBI to investigate the matter on top priority. Special CBI teams are being sent to Patna and Godhra where local police cases have been registered.

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Sunday registered an FIR in the alleged irregularities in the NEET-UG exam after the Union Education Ministry handed over the case to it.

“The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has registered a criminal case based on a written complaint from the Director of the Department of Higher Education, Ministry of Education, Govt of India, New Delhi,” said a statement issued by the CBI.

It further states, “The allegations in the FIR state that the NEET(UG) 2024 Examination was conducted by the National Testing Agency (NTA) on 5th May 2024 at 4,750 centres in 571 cities, including 14 cities abroad, with over 23 lakh candidates appearing for the examination. The complaint further alleges that certain isolated incidents occurred in a few States during the conduct of the NEET(UG) 2024 examination.”

Therefore, 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, including attempted irregularities. The Ministry has also requested CBI for investigation into 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.

CBI further added that it has accordingly registered a criminal case and initiated an investigation. Special teams have been formed by the CBI to investigate the matter on top priority. Special CBI teams are being sent to Patna and Godhra where local police cases have been registered.

Notably, in the early hours of Sunday, the central government entrusted the matter of alleged irregularities in the NEET (UG) Examination 2024 to the CBI for a comprehensive investigation.

“National Testing Agency (NTA) conducted the NEET(UG) Examination on May 5, 2024, in OMR (Pen and paper) mode. Certain cases of alleged irregularities/cheating/impersonation/malpractices have been reported. For transparency on the conduct of the examination process, the Ministry of Education, Government of India, after a review has decided to entrust the matter to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) for comprehensive investigation. Central Government has also enacted the Public Examination (Prevention of Unfair Means) Act, 2024, to prevent unfair means in public examinations and to provide for matter connected therewith or incidental thereto,” the government said.

“The government is committed to ensuring the sanctity of examinations and protect the interest of students. It is reiterated that any individual/ organization found to be involved will face strictest action,” it added.

The National Testing Agency (NTA), which conducted the NEET-UG exams, is facing criticism over alleged irregularities in the exams. This resulted in several protests across the country, with protestors and political parties demanding to disband the NTA.

An unprecedented 67 candidates achieved a perfect score of 720 marks out of 720, which added to the concerns.

The Ministry of Education said it has constituted a high-level committee of experts to make recommendations on reforms in the mechanism of the examination process, improvements in data security protocols and the functioning of the NTA.

The 7-member committee, led by ISRO former chairman Dr K. Radhakrishnan, will submit its report to the ministry in the next two months.

“In order to ensure transparent, smooth and fair conduct of examinations through the National Testing Agency (NTA), the Department of Higher Education, Ministry of Education constituted a High-Level Committee of Experts to make recommendations on reform in the mechanism of examination process improvement in data security protocols and the structure and functioning of National Testing Agency,” the ministry said.

(With inputs from ANI)

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