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NEET Paper Leak: Arrest of ‘Solver Gang’ Member; Recovery of 68 Questions from Burnt Paper Scraps

Image Source: hindustantimes.com

The Bihar Police’s Economic Offences Unit (EOU), which took over the investigation into the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET)-UG paper leak case before handing it to the CBI, disclosed that they had arrested a member of the “solver gang” implicated in the scandal. Baldev Kumar was apprehended along with four others from Deoghar, Jharkhand, accused of being associated with the gang’s leader, Sanjeev Kumar.

The “solver gang,” allegedly led by Ravi Atri, specializes in procuring and distributing solved question papers through various channels, including social media, to candidates willing to pay for an advantage.

According to Indian Express, the EOU stated, “Based on available evidence, the solved question papers of the NEET UG-2024 examination, scheduled for May 5, 2024, were received by this gang on mobile phones.” Baldev Kumar reportedly received a PDF file of the solved paper on the morning of May 5, which was then printed using a Wi-Fi printer at a school. Groups of candidates were organized to memorize the content.

The EOU took over the investigation on May 17 from the Patna Police, who had initially arrested 13 individuals on May 5 in connection with the alleged leak. Baldev Kumar, originally from Bihar Sharif in Nalanda district, had been residing in Patna at the time of his arrest. Other members of the “solver gang” detained include Mukesh Kumar from Agamkuan, Patna; Panku Kumar from Chhabilapur, Nalanda; Rajeev Kumar alias Karu from Ekangarsarai, Nalanda; and Paramjit Singh alias Bittu, also from Chhabilapur, Nalanda.

The investigation has centered on Oasis School in Hazaribagh, Jharkhand, as the primary suspect, with scrutiny also extending to St. Xavier’s School, DAV Public School, Holy Cross School, and Vivekananda Central School in the same city. The EOU suspects the paper leaked from one of these schools where the NEET-UG exam was held, focusing particularly on the digital locks of lockers where question papers were stored.

In total, the EOU has arrested 18 individuals in connection with the case, which involves allegations of paper leaks, malpractice at exam centers, and discrepancies in results for this year’s medical entrance exam. The investigation has been meticulous, with authorities recovering partially burnt copies of the question paper, confirming their suspicions regarding the origins and handling of the leaked materials.

EOU’s statement included, “The recovered semi-burnt question paper from Learn Boys Hostel and Play School in Ramakrishna Nagar matched the serial code of the examination center at Oasis School, Kallu Chowk, Mandai Road, Hazaribagh, Jharkhand. Preliminary investigations suggest tampering with the packing of the original question papers seized, all of which have been secured as crucial evidence.”

The case underscores the challenges of maintaining exam integrity and the rigorous efforts required to combat such malpractices in educational testing systems.

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