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Maharashtra connection in alleged NEET irregularities: ZP school headmaster held, teacher detained

According to police, both teachers also run a private coaching centre.
Last Updated : 24 June 2024, 16:44 IST

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Latur: The Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) has arrested a Zilla Parishad school headmaster from Latur in Maharashtra and detained a teacher after it emerged that at least four persons operated a racket to help NEET students willing to pay money to crack the exam, police said on Monday.

Police arrested Jalil Khan Umar Khan Pathan, the headmaster of a ZP school late Sunday night, and detained another ZP school teacher Sanjay Jadhav on Monday for questioning.

According to police, both teachers also run a private coaching centre.

An FIR has been registered against Jadhav, Pathan, Iranna Mashnaji Kongalwar from Nanded and one Gangadhar, a resident of Delhi under the Public Examinations (Prevention of Unfair Means) Act, 2024.

Pathan was on Monday remanded in police custody till July 2 by a local court

"ATS officials had received a tip-off that some suspects were running an illegal racket to help NEET students pass the exam in exchange for money," stated a release issued by the office of the Latur district superintendent of police.

Subsequently, the ATS detained Jadhav and Pathan from Latur on Saturday night for questioning.

According to police, suspicious information regarding the NEET 2024 exam was found in the mobile phone of one of the detained persons.

The investigation so far revealed the references to monetary transactions made by one of the accused Kongalwar with Delhi resident Gangadhar, an official said.

Prima facie, Kongalwar used to act as a mediator who would collect admit cards of NEET aspirants from two teachers- Pathan and Jadhav.

"After cards are collected, an advance payment of Rs 50,000 used to be made to Gangadhar and the admit cards would be sent to him. The deal would be typically finalised at Rs 5 lakh (per student for facilitating paper leak)," the official said.

Konagalwar, posted at an ITI in Umarga in the Dharashiv district in Marathwada region, was in contact with Gangadhar.

The official said police teams have been fanned out to trace Kongalwar.

Jadhav appeared to be in a disturbed state of mind and possibly considering self-harm, the official said.

"He has been detained and questioning is on. As of now, he is not formally arrested," he added.

Meanwhile, Pathan's cupboard at Katpur where he was posted as the headmaster has been sealed and his duties have been assigned to another teacher.

The investigation showed that Pathan has been absent from school since June 20 but he signed the duty muster on June 20 and 21.

The block education officer has submitted a report to senior authorities, officials said, adding that a proposal to suspend Pathan will be moved.

According to police, Kongalwar used to travel to the ITI in Umarga from Latur. He had applied for leave on Monday and Tuesday.

The investigating officer Bhagwat Funde didn't pick up repeated calls.

The ATS action came after the Centre handed over the probe into the alleged irregularities in the medical entrance exam- NEET-UG- to the CBI, giving in to demands of students protesting across the country for an investigation into the matter.

The CBI subsequently filed an FIR into the alleged irregularities in the exam conducted on May 5.

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Published 24 June 2024, 16:44 IST

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