NEET paper leak probe: CBI arrests journalist from Jharkhand, conducts searches in Gujarat

The investigating teams of the CBI conducted searches at seven locations in Gujarat that spread across four districts.
Activists protest over the alleged irregularities in NEET-UG results.
Activists protest over the alleged irregularities in NEET-UG results.Photo | Express

NEW DELHI: The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), which is probing the alleged irregularities in the NEET-UG entrance exam, conducted searches at seven locations in Gujarat on Saturday and arrested a journalist in Jharkhand, officials in the agency said.

Identifying the arrested journalist as Jamaluddin Ansari, who works with a Hindi newspaper in the state, the officials said he was arrested on Friday for allegedly trying to help Principal Ehsanul Haque and Vice-Principal Imtiaz Alam of Oasis School in Hazaribagh. Both of them are accused in the paper leak case and were taken into custody yesterday.

Meanwhile, the CBI investigating teams on Saturday searched seven premises of suspects in Gujarat’s Anand, Kheda, Ahmedabad, and Godhra districts.

These searches were conducted as part of the agency’s probe into a larger conspiracy spread across Gujarat, Rajasthan, Bihar, Delhi, and Jharkhand.

Activists protest over the alleged irregularities in NEET-UG results.
CBI conducts searches at seven locations in Gujarat in NEET-UG paper leak case

According to the officials, a special CBI court in Godhra on Saturday granted the probe agency four-day custody of Jay Jalaram School’s principal Purushottam Sharma, teacher Tushar Bhatt, and middlemen Vibhor Anand and Arif Vohra, all of whom are alleged to be involved in irregularities in the May 5 NEET-UG exam in Godhra.

Earlier, the Gujarat Police had arrested five people, including the principal and the teacher, in connection with the paper leak case.

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The officials said that the agency in its investigation so far has found that the examination centers in Godhra and Kheda chosen by the National Testing Agency (NTA) were controlled by the same school administration.

Sources in the agency said that the accused allegedly asked candidates arranged by them from Odisha, Bihar, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, and Uttar Pradesh to mark Godhra as their examination center and choose Gujarati as their language.

A source in the agency said, “The CBI’s probe so far has established that the identified accused, who were responsible for conducting the examination in a free, fair and transparent manner, were themselves involved in arranging candidates and facilitating them to attain good marks for a hefty consideration.” He went on to add that the arranged candidates allegedly mentioned their addresses of Panchmahal and Vadodara in Gujarat.

Activists protest over the alleged irregularities in NEET-UG results.
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This meant that ‘a larger conspiracy’ with ‘multi-state links’ was there to commit the alleged irregularities in the NEET-UG examination, the officials said, adding that the CBI would interrogate Purushottam Sharma, Tushar Bhatt, Vibhor Anand, and Arif Vohra, who are believed to be in possession of crucial information, to expose the broader conspiracy in orchestrating the manipulation.

The CBI has registered six FIRs in the case. The FIR from Bihar pertains to the leakage of the paper while the remaining from Gujarat and Rajasthan pertains to the impersonation of candidates and cheating. The agency’s own FIR on a reference from the Union Education Ministry pertains to a “comprehensive investigation” into alleged irregularities in the NEET (UG) exam.

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