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Bihar Police Found Questions Matching ‘Original’ NEET Paper In Burnt Scraps: How Many Papers Matched?

The Bihar government has communicated to the Centre that a probe by its Economic Offences Unit (EOU) “clearly suggests a paper leak” in the NEET-UG exam. This assertion is based on the EOU’s findings that 68 questions from the purported photocopy of the question paper, retrieved from burnt paper remains, match the original NEET-UG paper […]

Bihar Police Found Questions Matching ‘Original’ NEET Paper In Burnt Scraps: How Many Papers Matched?
Bihar Police Found Questions Matching ‘Original’ NEET Paper In Burnt Scraps: How Many Papers Matched?

The Bihar government has communicated to the Centre that a probe by its Economic Offences Unit (EOU) “clearly suggests a paper leak” in the NEET-UG exam. This assertion is based on the EOU’s findings that 68 questions from the purported photocopy of the question paper, retrieved from burnt paper remains, match the original NEET-UG paper provided by the National Testing Agency (NTA). This information has been confirmed by The Indian Express.

The EOU’s report, which was received by the Education Ministry on Saturday, also indicates that the unique exam centre code found on the scraps of the burnt paper corresponds to Oasis School, a CBSE-affiliated private school in Hazaribagh, Jharkhand. This school was designated as an exam centre by the NTA. The EOU used forensic analysis to confirm the match between the burnt scraps and the original question paper.

The Education Ministry, acting on the EOU’s report, decided to hand over the investigation to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI). The EOU has already arrested five more suspects on Sunday, bringing the total number of arrests in connection with the paper leak to 18. Reinforcing the claim of a paper leak, the EOU noted that the 68 questions not only matched the original questions but also had identical serial numbers.

The burnt papers were initially found on the day of the exam, May 5, when the suspected candidates were arrested. However, a delay occurred in matching them with the NEET-UG paper due to the NTA’s initial reluctance to share the question paper with the state government. This hurdle was overcome a week ago when the NTA began cooperating with Bihar’s EOU.

The current focus of the Bihar EOU is to determine the time and location of the paper leak. The NTA has recently provided the chain of custody for the question paper, aiding the EOU in tracing the paper’s journey from the NTA to the Oasis School to identify where the leak occurred. A significant clue emerged when the EOU seized items from Oasis School, discovering that one tamper-proof envelope containing the question papers had been cut open improperly.

Ehsanhul Haque, the principal of Oasis School, suggested that the paper might have been leaked before the packets arrived at the school. He clarified that CCTV footage showed the packets were received on the morning of May 5 by the Centre Superintendent and the NTA Observer, and the packets were opened in front of the students as per protocol. Haque stated that despite the school’s strict procedures, the EOU found evidence suggesting sophisticated tampering with the sealed packets.

The EOU has sent the digital devices and phones of the arrested individuals to a forensics laboratory to retrieve further clues, as the accused had recently formatted their devices. The arrested candidates testified that they had memorized answers from the leaked question paper a day before the exam while staying at a location in Rajbanshi Nagar. Their scores ranged from 185 to 581 out of 720. The EOU suspects that another 30 candidates may have benefited from the leak, based on the statements of the accused.

The investigation gained momentum after the Jharkhand Police alerted the Bihar Police about a potential paper leak on May 4. On the exam day, May 5, the Patna police, acting on specific leads, raided a house in Rajbanshi Nagar and found the burnt question paper. Subsequent arrests included a key suspect, Yadavendu, a junior engineer, and others involved in the conspiracy.

The Bihar government transferred the investigation to the EOU on May 11, which then led to the identification and arrest of additional suspects. The CBI will now take over the investigation to further unravel the details of the NEET-UG paper leak.

 

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BIHAR GOVERNMENTBIHAR POLICEBurnt PapersexamNEETNEET UG.NTATDGThe Daily Guardian