CBI takes over probe into irregularities in NEET-UG; FIR registered

This comes a day after the Centre announced that the probe into the alleged irregularities in the test would be handed over to the agency.
Students protest over the irregularities surrounding the UGC-NET and NEET-UG examinations in New Delhi, Thursday, June 20, 2024.
Students protest over the irregularities surrounding the UGC-NET and NEET-UG examinations in New Delhi, Thursday, June 20, 2024.Photo | PTI

NEW DELHI: The anti-graft central probe agency CBI on Sunday registered an FIR and initiated a probe into alleged irregularities in the NEET (UG) 2024 exam following a complaint from the Department of Higher Education under the Ministry of Education, officials said.

The NEET (UG) 2024 examination, conducted by the National Testing Agency (NTA) on May 5, 2024, was held at 4,750 centres in 571 cities, including 14 cities abroad, with over 23 lakh candidates appearing.

The complaint, now part of the CBI FIR, alleged that certain isolated incidents occurred in a few states during the conduct of the entrance examination.

Students protest over the irregularities surrounding the UGC-NET and NEET-UG examinations in New Delhi, Thursday, June 20, 2024.
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A senior CBI official said, “The probe agency has registered a criminal case and initiated an investigation. Special teams have been formed to investigate the matter on top priority. Teams are being sent to Patna and Godhra, where local police have registered cases in this regard.”

The Higher Education Department requested the CBI to conduct a comprehensive investigation into the alleged irregularities, including conspiracy, cheating, impersonation, breach of trust, and destruction of evidence by candidates, institutes, and middlemen. The department also requested an investigation into the role of public servants, if any, connected with the conduct of the examination, aiming to ensure “transparency in the examination process.”

It is noteworthy that besides NEET-UG, three other exams—UGC NET, CSIR-UGC NET, and NEET-PG—have also faced controversy. The UGC NET was cancelled by the government a day after the exam, while the CSIR-UGC NET and NEET-PG exams have been postponed.

Students protest over the irregularities surrounding the UGC-NET and NEET-UG examinations in New Delhi, Thursday, June 20, 2024.
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To combat exam malpractice, the central government has notified rules to implement the Public Examination (Prevention of Unfair Means) Act, 2024, aiming to prevent unfair practices in public examinations.

Additionally, the Ministry of Education has constituted a high-level panel of experts chaired by K. Radhakrishnan, former chairman of ISRO, to ensure transparent, smooth, and fair conduct of examinations.

“The committee will recommend reforms in the examination process, improvements in data security protocols, and the structure and functioning of the NTA. The committee is expected to submit its report within two months,” the officials said.

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