Representational image | File photo of students appearing for the JEE exams at a centre in Delhi | Photo: Manisha Mondal | ThePrint
Representational image | File photo of students appearing for the JEE exams at a centre in Delhi | Photo: Manisha Mondal | ThePrint
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New Delhi: The National Testing Agency (NTA) has debarred 20 candidates from appearing for examinations for a period of three years for using “unfair means” in the Joint Entrance Exam (JEE) Mains, the agency said Wednesday while announcing the JEE Mains 2021 combined rank for all four phases.

The NTA announcement comes amid an ongoing CBI investigation into the alleged manipulation of JEE Mains phase four exam, conducted between 26 August and 2 September. For the first time this year, JEE Mains was held in four phases.

ThePrint had reported earlier Wednesday that the NTA is also conducting a parallel probe and more than 400 students are under the scanner for alleged malpractice in the exam.

“On account of using ‘unfair means’, a total of 20 candidates have been debarred from appearing in future examinations for a period of three years. Their results have also been withheld,” the NTA statement said. The statement, however, did not elaborate anything further.

According to the NTA rules, “unfair means” include “using someone to write examinations (impersonation) or preparing material for copying” and being in possession of prohibited articles like stationery items and communication devices, among others.

The agency had been keeping tabs on students whose percentage showed a sudden shift from one phase to another and fourth phase students who had scored less in all three previous phases.

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44 candidates score 100 percentile

According to the NTA statement, 44 candidates have scored 100 percentile and 18 candidates have secured first rank in the combined merit list. The ranks of the candidates have been decided taking into consideration the best of NTA scores of all candidates who appeared in more than one session of the examination.

“For those candidates who appeared in more than one session of the examination, the best NTA score has been accounted for. The examination was conducted in 925 Centers in 334 cities, including outside India,” the statement read.

This year, the combined number of students who appeared in the four sessions was 9.39 lakh. Of these, 2.52 lakh candidates appeared in all four exams to improve rank.

The agency also gave a detailed note on the security arrangements put in place for conducting the exams. According to the agency, they opened a ‘central control room’ to monitor and facilitate the smooth conduction of the examination. Two national coordinators, six regional coordinators, 287 city coordinators, and approximately 800 observers were positioned.

Live CCTV surveillance was planned in all examination centres to curb malpractices in the examination. “The NTA also made arrangements for live viewing of any remote locations and recording CCTV systems of all examination centres from the control room located in the NTA premises of New Delhi,” the statement added.

According to the statement, the examination centres were also monitored using AI-based video analytics and virtual observers, and in order to stop cheating using mobile networks, jammers were installed at all the centres.

(Edited by Poulomi Banerjee)

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