Sunday, July 21, 2024

Serious questions on integrity of NTA, how NEET is conducted: Congress


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Police recover 6 post-dated cheques ‘issued for question paper facilitators’

NEW DELHI, June 16: The Congress on Sunday said there are “serious questions” on the integrity of the National Testing Agency and the manner in which NEET is designed and administered.
The opposition party hoped that when the new Standing Committees of Parliament gets constituted, it would take up an in-depth review of the NEET, NTA and NCERT.
“I was a member of Parliament’s Standing Committee on Health and Family Welfare between 2014 and 2019 and recall broad support for NEET. But there were MPs, especially from Tamil Nadu, who had raised concerns that NEET would privilege CBSE students and would disadvantage youth coming from non-CBSE schools,” Congress general secretary Jairam Ramesh said in a post on X.
“I do think now that this CBSE issue needs proper analysis. Is NEET discriminatory? Are students from poorer backgrounds being denied opportunities? Other states like Maharashtra also have expressed grave doubts on NEET,” he said.
There are also serious questions on the integrity of the National Testing Agency itself and the manner in which NEET is designed and administered, he said.
The NCERT itself has lost all professionalism in the last decade, Ramesh claimed.
“Hopefully the new Standing Committee(s) when they get constituted will take up an in-depth review of NEET, NTA and NCERT. This should receive the highest priority,” he said.
The National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test (UG), or NEET, was held on May 5 across 4,750 centres with around 24 lakh candidates appearing for it. The results were expected to be declared on June 14 but were announced on June 4 — the day the general election results were announced –, apparently because the evaluation of the answer sheets was completed earlier.
There have been allegations of question paper leaks in states like Bihar and other irregularities in the pan-India exam.
The Centre and the National Testing Agency on Thursday told the Supreme Court they had cancelled the grace marks given to 1,563 candidates who took the examination for admission to MBBS and other such courses.
They will have the option to either take a re-test or forgo the compensatory marks awarded to them for loss of time, the Centre has said.
The Congress had on Friday questioned Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s “silence” on the matter and asserted that only a Supreme Court-monitored forensic probe could safeguard the future of lakhs of young students.
The Economic Offences Unit (EOU) of Bihar Police has recovered six post-dated cheques which were suspected to have been issued in favour of mafia demanding over Rs 30 lakh from each candidate seeking alleged leaked question paper ahead of NEET held last month.
“During the course of investigation, EOU sleuths recovered six post-dated cheques that were issued in the favour of criminals who reportedly facilitated question papers to the aspirants ahead of the examination,” Manavjit Singh Dhillon, Deputy Inspector General (DIG), EOU,said on Sunday.
Investigators are ascertaining details about account holders from the banks concerned, he added.
The EOU has so far arrested 13 people, including four examinees and their family members, in connection with the alleged NEET-UG 2024 paper leak case. All accused belong to Bihar, said the DIG.
The EOU has also issued notices to nine candidates (seven from Bihar and one each from Uttar Pradesh and Maharashtra) to join the probe, he added.
According to sources, it is suspected that nine aspirants, along with four other examinees from Bihar who have already been arrested by the EOU, received the exam’s question paper and answers in a ‘safe house’ near Patna a day before it was conducted on May 5.
During interrogation, the aspirants disclosed that their parents had paid more than Rs 30 lakh for every candidate to those who facilitated questions papers ahead of the exam.
Sources in the EOU further said that investigation has so far revealed that the question papers of NEET-UG and their answers were provided to around 35 aspirants before the May 5 exam.
Candidates from different places in Bihar were brought to a rented accommodation at Ramkrishna Nagar in Patna, where they were provided with the question papers and answers. (PTI)


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