Bihar is among the states where there are allegations of question paper leak in the NEET-UG exam 2024. The Bihar Police is actively probing the case. The Economic Offences Unit of Bihar Police had last month arrested 13 people, including prime suspect Sikandar Yadavendu, in connection with the alleged paper leak in the NEET-UG 2024 exam conducted by the National Testing Agency (NTA), PTI reported.

The NEET row

The alleged irregularities in this year’s NEET-UG 2024 exam came to light after 67 students scored a perfect 720, unprecedented in the NTA’s history. Six of them were from a centre in Haryana.

Moreover, it was alleged that grace marks contributed to 67 students sharing the top rank. The National Testing Agency (NTA) had earlier said the changes made in NCERT textbooks and grace marks for losing time at the examination centres were some of the reasons behind the students scoring higher marks.

How NEET row took a political turn

A. Bihar Dy CM alleges Tejashwi Yadav link

One June 20, Bihar Deputy Chief Minister Vijay Sinha linked the alleged NEET ‘paper leak’ matter to “Tejashwi Yadav’s personal secretary Pritam Kumar”. He alleged that Kumar got a room booked for Sikander Kumar Yadavendu, one of the accused in the “paper leak” case.

Sinha claimed that Tejashwi’s secretary, Pritam Kumar had called a guest house worker of the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) to book a room for Yadavendu. He said that the word “Mantri” was used for the former Deputy CM Yadav.

Sinha also sought a clarification from Tejashwi Yadav regarding whether Pritam Kumar is still his Personal Secretary and who is Sikander Yadavendu.

“When Lalu Prasad Yadav was jailed in Ranchi, Sikander Kumar Yadavendu used to be at Lalu’s service. He was a Junior Engineer in the irrigation department. They play with the future of the people. They do scams when they are in power and they try to influence the appointment process,” Sinha alleged.

B. RJD links accused with Deputy CM Samrat Choudhary, posts picture

In retaliation to Sinha’s claim, the RJD released an undated picture showing another Bihar’s Deputy CM Samrat Choudhary, puportedly with co-accused Amit Anand.

Tejashwi Yadav’s political party captioned the photo, saying, “The main accused in the NEET exam paper leak scam with the Deputy Chief Minister of Bihar.”

“The so-called powerful minister, who was felicitated by the accused, has deleted all his photos with him from his social media handles. But don’t worry, we have them all. Send this to your worried counterpart the other deputy CM,” the party’s post read.

Mint could not independently verify the charges.

In another tweet, the RJD alleged, “The #NEET paper was leaked in the three states governed by BJP , Bihar, Gujarat and Haryana.”

How Tejashwi Yadav responded

Tejashwi Yadav broke his silence on the allegations made against him and said that the BJP wanted to “divert the attention” from the kingpin, so they dragged his name.

He said the BJP “can call the PS or PA anyone for probe.” He said, “They want to divert the issue from the kingpin…Those who want to drag my name or my PA’s name, this will not benefit anyone…”

He demanded the NEET exam to be cancelled immediately. “The engineer who is talked about could be a beneficiary but Amit Anand and Nitish Kumar are the masterminds of the paper leak,” he added.

Steps taken by govt so far

On Saturday, the education ministry notified a seven-member panel headed by former ISRO chief K Radhakrishnan to ensure transparent, smooth and fair conduct of examinations through the NTA.

Also, the NTA Director General, Subodh Kumar Singh, was removed from the post on Saturday. Singh’s services were put on a “compulsory wait” in Department of Personnel and Training, the government said in a letter. India Trade Promotion Organisation Chairman and MD Pradeep Singh Kharola was assigned additional charge of NTA DG.

Amid the alleged irregularities, Joint CSIR-UGC-NET and NEET-PG examination have been postponed. Meanwhile, UGC-NET was cancelled due to the ‘compromised integrity’ of the examination.

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Published: 23 Jun 2024, 06:17 AM IST