NEET paper leak row: ‘Solver gang’ member arrested; 68 questions in original paper recovered from burnt scraps | Latest News India - Hindustan Times

NEET paper leak row: ‘Solver gang’ member arrested; 68 questions in original paper recovered from burnt scraps

Jun 24, 2024 05:57 PM IST

The EOU claimed that Baldev Kumar was an ally of the solver gang's leader Sanjeev Kumar.

The Economic Offences Unit (EOU) of the Bihar police, which was investigating the paper leak case in National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET)-UG before handing it over to CBI, revealed on Sunday that it arrested a member of the “solver gang” who received a solved question paper a day before the exam was scheduled on June 5.

Police taking the accused of NEET paper leak case, arrested by EOU from Deoghar, to the court after medical checkup. (Hindustan Times)
Police taking the accused of NEET paper leak case, arrested by EOU from Deoghar, to the court after medical checkup. (Hindustan Times)

Among the five people arrested by the Bihar police on Sunday from Jharkhand’s Deoghar was Baldev Kumar. The EOU claimed that Kumar was an ally of the gang's kingpin Sanjeev Kumar.

Also read | NEET 2024 Row Highlights

'Solver Gang' is an alleged network led by Ravi Atri. The gang specialises in obtaining and circulating solver question papers via various mediums, including social media, to students willing to pay the right price.

“Based on the available evidence, the solved question papers of NEET UG-2024 examination held on 05.05.2024 were received on mobile by this gang,” Indian Express quoted the EOU.

“Baldev Kumar had received the PDF file of the solved question paper on his mobile in the morning of May 5. Its copies were taken out from the Wi-Fi printer kept in the school. Groups of candidates were formed and they were made to memorise them,” EOU told the Indian Express.

Also read | NEET row: Bihar Police unravels paper leak plot, NTA debars 110 aspirants | 10 points

The EOU, which took over the investigation from Patna Police on May 17, announced that the case would be transferred to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI). Earlier, on May 5, Patna Police had arrested 13 people for the alleged paper leak.

Baldev Kumar, who hails from Bihar Sharif in Nalanda district, was living in a rented place in Patna. The other arrested "solver gang members" include Mukesh Kumar from Agamkuan in Patna, Panku Kumar from Chhabilapur in Nalanda, Rajeev Kumar alias Karu from Ekangarsarai in Nalanda, and Paramjit Singh alias Bittu from Chhabilapur in Nalanda, Indian Express reported.

Oasis School in Hazaribagh, Jharkhand is the main suspected center, while St Xavier’s School, DAV Public School, Holy Cross School, and Vivekananda Central School in the city are also being investigated.

Also read | NEET, UGC Exam row: Should NTA be restructured? Here's what experts think of what needs to be done

A police officer in Hazaribagh told HT, “The EOU team suspects that the paper leaked from one of the five schools where NEET-UG was held and is probing in that direction. The schools are Oasis school, St Xavier’s School, DAV Public School, Holy Cross School and Vivekananda Central School in Hazaribagh. Oasis is on top of the suspicion list but nothing concrete has been found so far. The principal of Oasis School in Hazaribag told the probing team that the digital locks (of lockers where question papers were kept) were opened after getting the consent of senior officials authorised by the National Testing Agency (which conducts the exam).”

The EOU has arrested 18 people related to the case involving allegations of paper leaks, malpractice, manipulation at exam centres, and result discrepancies in this year's medical entrance exam. According to the police, one arrested person admitted to receiving a leaked question paper.

As per Indian Express, the EOU recovered 68 questions, out of about 200, from burnt remains of alleged copies of the question paper.

EOU said in a statement, “A copy of the reference question paper related to the semi-burnt question paper seized in Learn Boys Hostel and Play School has been made available by NTA. After receiving the desired report related to the Serial Code of the half-burned question paper seized from NTA in the evening of 20 June, 2024, it became clear that the half-burned question paper recovered from Learn Boys Hostel and Play School, Ramakrishna Nagar for the NEET UG-2024 examination. The serial code is of the examination centre of Oasis School Kallu Chowk, Mandai Road of District Hazaribagh, Jharkhand. This has been verified. In the course of verification, prima facie, the polybag suspected of packing the question paper from the concerned examination centre of Hazaribagh, the packing of the original question paper recovered from the concerned candidate and the preliminary investigation in the related packing trunk, all these have been found to be tampered with and all these Suspicious exhibits have been duly confiscated.”

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