After Hazaribagh, CBI shifts focus to Patna | Latest India News

After Hazaribagh, CBI shifts focus to Patna | Latest India News

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Saturday concluded the first phase of investigation into the alleged leakage of NEET-UG exam papers in Jharkhand’s Hazaribagh district. The focus now is on the suspects lodged in jails in Bihar and Gujarat, officials familiar with the matter said.

The NEET-UG 2024 has been beset by a series of allegations ranging from question paper leaks, excessive marking and arbitrary awarding of mercy marks – issues that have become a nationwide flashpoint for political parties, leading thousands of students to protest for weeks. (ANI)

A day after the federal agency arrested the principal and vice-principal of a school in Hazaribagh in connection with the alleged paper leak, CBI sleuths on Saturday packed up their makeshift office in the Chari area of ​​the district.

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Seven suspects, including three arrested from Hazaribagh, are being shifted to the CBI headquarters in Delhi for further interrogation.

A police officer from Jharkhand, who assisted the CBI, said, “The CBI investigation is not over in Hazaribagh, which has emerged as the main source of the leak. Due to issues regarding remand time for all suspects and those arrested from different places, the CBI team has left Hazaribagh for the time being. Those arrested will now have to be confronted with other suspects.”

Over the past six days, the federal agency has questioned officials of Oasis School, Nutan Nagar Blue Dart Courier, State Bank of India and teachers of four different schools in Jharkhand to trace the source of the leak. Of at least 20 to 25 suspects questioned at the retirement home, the CBI has arrested three, including Oasis School principal Ehsanul Haque and vice-principal Imtiaz Alam, and media marketing in-charge of a Hindi daily Jamaluddin.

Haque was the district coordinator of Hazaribagh for the medical entrance examination conducted by the National Testing Agency (NTA) on May 5. Alam was an NTA observer and center coordinator at Oasis School for the medical exam which was embroiled in a raging controversy.

The duo came under the scanner after a half-burnt question paper of NEET-UG, 2024 was found at a private school in Ramakrishna Nagar in Patna on May 5, hours after the exam was over. On June 23, a three-member investigation team of the Economic Offences Unit (EOU) of the Bihar police visited the school and inquired about the conduct of the test and the mechanism to open digital locks of question paper boxes. A CBI team arrested Haque on Wednesday after questioning him.

Haque denies manipulating the exam questions in Hazaribagh and calls the allegations baseless.

An employee at the Blue Dart office in Nutan Nagar confirmed that employees at the local branch have been instructed to appear before the investigation agency when called upon. “Two employees have been questioned. They have given their statement and identification papers. CBI officials said they will issue summons if necessary,” he added.

It is from this courier arm of Blue Dart that the NEET-UG question papers were first received from Ranchi airport and sent to the State Bank of India branch on May 3. In a statement, Blue Dart said they are cooperating with the investigative agencies.

Additionally, the CBI is likely to seek custody of some of the 13 accused, including Sikandar Prasad Yadvendu (56), a junior engineer with the Danapur Nagar Parishad, who is currently lodged in Beur Jail in Patna district.

The official said, “The arrested media professional, Jamaluddin, will be confronted with Yadvendu and another arrested suspect, Amit Anand and Nitish Kumar. Amit Anand is a man who runs an unregistered educational consultancy firm in Patna. He was in touch with both Yadvendu and the fugitive prime suspect, Sanjeev Mukhia, alias Lutan Mukhia. Jamaluddin appears to be the key link connecting Hazaribagh’s Oasis school to the members of the paper leak gang.”

The NEET-UG 2024, conducted by the National Testing Agency (NTA) for admission to MBBS, BDS and other related undergraduate courses across India, has been dogged by a series of allegations ranging from leaked question papers, excessive marking and arbitrary granting of grace marks – issues that have become a nationwide flashpoint for political parties, prompting thousands of students to protest for weeks. This year’s exam was conducted on May 5 at 4,750 centres in 571 cities, including 14 abroad, with 2.3 million candidates appearing.

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