Major Irregularities Uncovered in NEET UG Exam in Bihar; 13 Arrested

Ayush Kumar, a student arrested in Patna, confessed that the NEET question paper had been leaked prior to the examination
Sikandar, a known mafia figure from Samastipur, who assured him that everything in NEET could be managed for a fee. (Representational image: Wikimedia commons)
Sikandar, a known mafia figure from Samastipur, who assured him that everything in NEET could be managed for a fee. (Representational image: Wikimedia commons)

The Bihar Police have uncovered a significant operation involving the leak of the NEET UG examination paper held on May 5 across India. The investigation has led to the arrest of 15 individuals, including students and their family members, revealing a web of corruption set up by an old mafia network.

The breakthrough came when Ayush Kumar, a student arrested in Patna, confessed that the NEET question paper had been leaked prior to the examination. Ayush admitted to memorizing the entire paper the night before the exam, which matched the actual exam paper. Ayush's father, Akhilesh Kumar, disclosed to the police that he had paid Rs 40 lakh to Sikandar, a known mafia figure from Samastipur, who assured him that everything in NEET could be managed for a fee. Sikandar promised a pass and the certificate upon payment.

During a raid, the police recovered partially burned question papers dated May 4 from the mafia’s hideout in Patna, confirming the paper leak before the examination. Despite these findings, Dr. Sadhna Parashar, Senior Director of the National Testing Agency (NTA), dismissed the claims of a paper leak as baseless.

Ayush Kumar's Confession
Ayush confessed that he had received the NEET question paper on Saturday night, a day before the exam that was held on May 5. He said that the question paper he got was the same as the one distributed at the examination center. Ayush also said that 25 other candidates like him memorized the answers to the question paper that was given to them on the premises of Learn Boys Hostel and Learn Play School," said an investigator.

In court, documents presented by the police indicated that the accused had close ties with several candidates. Among the notable names implicated is Sanjeev Mukhiya, previously arrested in connection with NEET paper leaks in 2016 and 2017. Sanjeev Mukhiya is now mentioned again as a key figure in the 2024 NEET paper leak case.

Police Statement on Arrests
The case was previously being investigated by a special team of the Patna Police. A total of 13 people, including four examinees and their family members, have been arrested. Additionally, one of the arrested individuals is also implicated in the Bihar Public Service Commission's (BPSC) Teachers Recruitment Exam (TRE)-3 paper leak case," stated an EOU release.
Ayush confessed that he had received the NEET question paper on Saturday night, a day before the exam that was held on May 5. (Representational image: Wikimedia commons)
Ayush confessed that he had received the NEET question paper on Saturday night, a day before the exam that was held on May 5. (Representational image: Wikimedia commons)

Further investigation revealed that burnt pieces of the question paper dated May 4 were found during a police raid at the mafia’s hideout in Patna. This discovery confirmed that the papers were leaked before the official examination date. Despite these findings, Dr. Sadhna Parashar, Senior Director of the National Testing Agency (NTA), dismissed the claims of a paper leak as baseless.

National Testing Agency (NTA) Response
"In an isolated incident at Girls Higher Secondary Adarsh Vidya Mandir, Mantown, Sawai Madhopur (Rajasthan), Hindi-medium students were given English medium question paper by mistake and by the time the invigilator was correcting the mistake, students forcefully walked out of the exam hall with the question paper… Due to this, the question paper was circulated on the internet around 4 pm, but by that time the exam had already started at all other centres across the country. So, there has not been any ‘leak’ of the NEET UG question paper,” said a senior NTA official.

In a related development, the police recovered 14 checks from Parshuram Raup, director of Sahodara's Rop Ovast Coaching, roughly equal to Rs 5 crore, with two checks each worth Rs 1 crore. The SIT believes the gang promised students high ranks in exchange for money, with candidates coming from Jharkhand, Maharashtra, Bihar, and Odisha.

In Godhra, Gujarat, Tushar Bhatt, the Deputy Superintendent of a NEET examination center, and his associate Arif Chokwe were arrested for similar charges. They allegedly advised candidates to leave most of their OMR sheets blank, planning to fill in the correct answers later. This scheme was exposed after a tip-off to the Panchmahal Collector.

The investigation has now been handed over to the Economic Offences Unit (EOU) of the Bihar Police. The EOU's Special Investigation Team (SIT) has seized incriminating documents and electronic devices from the accused. The gang allegedly provided the NEET question papers and answers to 35 aspirants before the exam, conducting sessions at Learn Boys Hostel and Learn Play School in Patna.

Economic Offences Unit (EOU) Statement
"The SIT has seized post-dated cheques that suggest that money was being paid by candidates to an organised gang. Though we had evidence of burnt question papers at an exam centre, it is not good enough proof to suggest there was a paper leak," said an EOU officer.

Despite the arrests and collected evidence, the NTA has maintained that there was no paper leak. They acknowledged an isolated incident at an exam center in Rajasthan where a mix-up occurred between Hindi and English question papers, leading to temporary chaos. However, they asserted that the overall exam proceeded smoothly across the country.

The ongoing investigation is expected to uncover more details and possibly lead to further arrests. The 15 individuals currently in judicial custody include four examinees, their parents, and members of the organized gang responsible for the leak.

Court's View on NEET Exam Irregularities
"The confusion in NEET is like playing with the healthcare of the people of the entire country," stated Judge CK Chauhan in the remand order.

(Input from various media sources)

(Rehash/ Susmita Bhandary)

Sikandar, a known mafia figure from Samastipur, who assured him that everything in NEET could be managed for a fee. (Representational image: Wikimedia commons)
Bihar: Doctor Arrested in UP Police Exam Paper Leak Case

Related Stories

No stories found.
logo
Medbound
www.medboundtimes.com