The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Friday apprehended the principal and vice principal of a school in Jharkhand’s Hazaribagh in connection with the NEET-UG paper leak case, officials said. Ehsanul Haque, the principal of Oasis School, was designated the city coordinator for the medical entrance exam conducted by the National Testing Agency (NTA) on May 5, news agency PTI reported. Vice Principal Imtiaz Alam served as the NTA’s observer and the centre coordinator at the same school.

Following the arrest, the CBI team reached Bihar’s capital city Patna with Haque and Alam, as per local inputs.

The CBI is also interrogating five other individuals from the district in relation to the paper leak, officials added, as per PTI.

The federal probe agency took Haque and Alam into custody after extensive questioning. Both the accused were flagged during an earlier investigation by the Bihar Police’s Economic Offences Unit (EOU). The EOU had discovered burnt NEET-UG question papers during a raid at a solver gang hideout.

In a statement, the EOU claimed the leaked NEET-UG question paper was allegedly sourced from Oasis School by the notorious Sanjeev Kumar alias Lutan Mukhiya gang. The investigators matched a partially burnt question paper found in Patna with the reference question paper provided by the NTA, confirming the leak’s origin. However, the exact source of the leak remains unclear.

Officials revealed that the probe indicated procedural lapses in handling the question paper boxes by authorities in Hazaribagh, PTI reported. In media interviews, Haque asserted that the box containing the question papers could not be opened due to a malfunction in its digital lock. He claimed to have contacted the NTA, which instructed him to use a cutter to open the box.

“The boxes have two locks — a manual one that requires a key and cutter, and a digital lock that opens automatically with a beep sound 45 minutes before the examination,” Haque explained.

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CBI Lodged Six Firs Related To NEET-UG Paper Leak Case

The CBI has registered six FIRs related to the NEET-UG paper leak case, including one on a reference from the Union Education Ministry and five from various states. The agency has taken over one case each from Bihar and Gujarat, and three from Rajasthan. 

On Thursday, the CBI made its first arrests in the case, detaining two individuals in Patna. Additionally, three candidates in Gujarat, who allegedly sought assistance to pass the exam, have recorded their statements with the probe agency.

The NEET-UG, conducted by the NTA, is a nationwide entrance test for admissions to MBBS, BDS, AYUSH, and other related courses in government and private institutions. This year’s exam, held on May 5, saw over 23 lakh candidates appear at 4,750 centres across 571 cities, including 14 abroad.

The first CBI FIR was registered on Sunday, a day after the ministry announced it would transfer the investigation of the alleged exam irregularities to the central agency. The demand for a CBI probe was raised by a group of protesting students.

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