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    IndiaNEET-UG row: CBI takes over probe; 17 more students debarred

    NEET-UG row: CBI takes over probe; 17 more students debarred

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    New Delhi, Jun 23: The CBI on Sunday took over the probe into alleged irregularities in the medical entrance exam NEET-UG following a reference from the Union ministry, while the Testing Agency cracked the whip against more students as it debarred 17 from centres in Bihar after detection of “malpractices”.

    With a section demanding the cancellation of the May 5 exam, the ministry officials reiterated the government's earlier stand that the incidents of malpractices were “localised” or “isolated” and it was not fair to jeopardise the careers of lakhs of candidates who cleared the exam rightfully.

    In an optional retest held for students whose grace marks were scrapped after the matter reached the Supreme Court, only 813 of the 1,563 such candidates appeared on Sunday.

    These candidates were awarded grace marks by the NTA to make up for the loss of time at six centres due to a delay in the start of the examination on May 5. There were allegations that it led to inflation of marks and contributed to six of the grace mark candidates from the same centre in scoring a perfect 720 marks along with 61 others.

    “At least 52 per cent — 813 out of 1,563 candidates — appeared for the retest on Sunday. While no candidate appeared in Chandigarh, the number of candidates appearing from Chattisgarh (291), Gujarat (1), Haryana (287) and Meghalaya (234),” a senior National Testing Agency (NTA) official said.

    Over 13 lakh candidates out of around 25 lakh qualified the NEET-UG this year and they will compete for around 1.8 lakh MBBS/dental seats.

    Amid allegations of irregularities as well as “bunching of high scorers”, the NTA stated that the top one lakh candidates are spread across 4,500 centres all over the country.

    Moreover, nearly two third of these are from rural or semi-rural areas, it stated.

    The Bihar Police's Economic Offences Unit (EOU) handed over a report to the Education Ministry on Saturday following which the probe was handed over to CBI for comprehensive investigation.

    “Based on the inputs received 17 candidates who appeared from centres in Bihar were debarred. This takes the number of total candidates debarred from the exam this year to 110,” an NTA official added.

    The agency had earlier debarred 63 candidates for adopting unfair means in the exam. On Saturday, 30 additional candidates from Gujarat's Godhara were also debarred.

    Amid countrywide protests and litigation by aspirants, the CBI filed the FIR in connection with alleged irregularities in NEET-UG under IPC sections 120-B (criminal conspiracy) and 420 (cheating) among others.

    Officials said the ministry alleged in a complaint, now part of the FIR, to the agency that “certain isolated incidents” occurred in a few states during the conduct of the examination.

    “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.

    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, according to the officials.

     

    Northlines
    Northlines
    The Northlines is an independent source on the Web for news, facts and figures relating to Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh and its neighbourhood.

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