Union Minister Dharmendra Pradhan said on Thursday that the UGC-NET exam was cancelled after it was discovered that the examination question paper had been leaked on the darknet. The decision to cancel the exam, conducted on June 18, was made promptly after confirmation that the leaked paper matched the original. 

The darknet, or dark web, is a hidden part of the internet beyond the reach of search engines, where users are largely anonymous and transactions are often conducted using cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin. 

“Once it was confirmed that the UGC-NET question paper on the darknet matched the original question paper of UGC-NET, we decided to cancel the examination,” Dharmendra Pradhan stated during a press conference today.

The National Testing Agency (NTA) had announced the cancellation on Wednesday night, citing concerns that the “integrity of the examination may have been compromised”. The cancellation came a day after the exam was conducted, following inputs suggesting the breach. 

During the press briefing, the Education Minister reiterated the government’s aim to maintain a zero-error exam process. He also announced the formation of a high-level committee to improve the NTA’s structure.

The allegations of leaked question paper of the NEET-UG exam and preferential making sparked political debate, especially in Bihar. Pradhan, responding to the reports, said that those found guilty would face strict action. He further stated that the government would not compromise the futures of students who passed with good scores due to “isolated incidents”. 

“Regarding the NEET examination, we are in touch with the Bihar government. We have received information and details regarding the case. The detailed report is awaited.” the Education Minister stated. 

He added, “A high-level committee has been formed to assess the NTA and its functions. The committee’s recommendations will be thoroughly discussed”.

According to a PTI input, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has registered an FIR in the UGC-NET paper leak case.

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