NEET row: Bihar police found 68 matching questions among burnt scraps

The Bihar police found the burnt paper scraps from the residence of the arrested candidates. The EOU reportedly took help of the forensics laboratory to match the burnt scraps with the original questions.
Last Updated : 24 June 2024, 16:47 IST

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Before the Centre ordered a probe by the CBI, the Economic Offences Unit (EOU) of Bihar police had already arrested a total of 18 persons for the alleged NEET-UG paper leak.

As per a report from The Indian Express, the Bihar government has suggested the EOU probe clearly proves there was a clear case of 'paper leak'.

The EOU in its probe recovered 68 questions and their serial numbers (out of a total of 200 questions) after examining the scrap pieces retrieved from the burnt remains of the (purported) National Testing Agency's (NTA) question paper photocopy.

The Bihar police reportedly found the burnt paper scraps from the residence of the arrested candidates.

The EOU took help of the state's forensics laboratory to match the burnt scraps with the original questions.

In its report, submitted to the Education Ministry on June 22, the EOU stated that the unique exam code of the school was from the Oasis School, a CBSE-affiliated private school in Jharkhand.

Even when the burnt scraps were found on the exam date itself and the candidates were arrested on the same basis on May 5, the NTA had brushed off allegations of the paper leak. This, reportedly, lead to the delay of EOU's report about the evidence found.

The Indian Express report states that the EOU is currently trying to identify the chain of events which led to the paper leak, with the NTA only recently sharing the chain of custody of the question paper to identify the source of the leak.

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.”

Reportedly, when the team visited the Oasis School and picked up all the envelopes and boxes in which the question papers had arrived, one of the envelopes were torn from a wrong side. All tamper-proof envelopes carrying question papers are always opened by tearing or cutting from a highlighted area, and all the exam staff are also trained to do exactly that.

The principal of the school said that the paper might have been leaked much before the envelopes reached the school.

The principal, who is the district co-ordinator for conducting exams in four centres in Hazaribagh, also told IE that the CCTV camera shows the school’s Centre Superintendent and the Observer (designated by the NTA) receiving the envelopes on the test day.

When asked about the burnt scraps showing Oasis as the exam centre, Haque said: “Even though the question papers are sealed in a seven-layered packet, the EOU officer said that the packet seemed to have been opened in a very sophisticated manner.” He said that if there was any wrongdoing on the school’s part, the school’s officials would have been taken into custody.

Published 24 June 2024, 16:47 IST

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