Students getting their documents verified outside an exam centre as they arrive to appear for the NEET exam, in Jabalpur on 13 September 2020 | ANI
Students getting their documents verified outside an exam centre as they arrive to appear for the NEET exam, in Jabalpur on 13 September 2020 | ANI | Representational Image
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Prayagraj: The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has arrested five people for allegedly attempting to “manipulate” the NEET (National Eligibility Entrance Test) by morphing admit cards, forging ID cards and sending “proxy candidates” to appear for the exam.

For this purpose, Maharashtra-based education consultancy firm — R.K. Education Career Guidance — which is now under investigation had charged upto Rs 50 lakh from the parents of the candidates, sources in the agency told ThePrint.

The accused, however, could not manage to manipulate the exam, as the proxy candidates “developed cold feet” and did not appear for the exam, after the recent crackdown by the CBI to arrest people involved in a similar racket of JEE entrances.

On 1 September, the CBI registered a case to investigate the irregularities in the JEE exam, after the agency received information that a group of “solvers” hacked into computers and wrote the exam for engineering candidates, while the actual candidates scribbled on sheets, pretending to be making calculations and solving questions. In this case, however, the JEE exam was successfully manipulated.

“We received information that about five persons who were dummy candidates, were to appear for the NEET exams at five centres on 12 September. A trap was laid, but none of them came to the exam centre, probably because they developed cold feet after the arrests in the JEE case,” a source in the agency said.

“We, however, had credible inputs about the education consultancy firm that had charged money from parents, assuring admissions for their children in good medical colleges. Based on that information, we registered an FIR and carried out searches. Till now, we have made five arrests in the case, who are all middlemen. More arrests are likely,” the source said.

Like the JEE Exam, NEET too is conducted by the National Testing Agency (NTA), an autonomous testing organisation under the Ministry of Education, which has been entrusted by the Government of India to conduct free and fair examinations for admissions to premier higher education institutions.

Also read: JEE scam and NEET ban are failures of the existing system. But tougher questions lie ahead


Morphed admit cards

According to the information with the CBI, R.K. Education Career Guidance, run by one Parimal Kotpalliwar, contacted parents of candidates assuring them admissions in medical colleges by successfully manipulating the process of the NEET examination by using proxy candidates.

“The parents of the candidate were asked to deposit post-dated cheques of the agreed amount and original mark sheets of the candidate for Class 10 and Class 12 as security which they would return after paying the agreed amount which is up to 50 lakh in most cases,” the source said.

According to the FIR, a copy of which is with ThePrint, the user IDs and passwords of the candidates appearing for the examination were collected by Kotpalliwar and his associates and necessary modifications were made for getting desired examination centers.

“In this they were using morphed photographs to facilitate use of proxy candidates for appearing in the examination. Copies of e-Aadhar cards of candidates were collected for the purpose of making forged ID cards. He also assured candidates of providing answer keys and manipulating OMR sheets,” the source said.

According to the source, over five candidates used the services of proxy candidates for the 12 September exam in centers including one in Ranchi and four in Delhi.

(Edited by Neha Mahajan)

Also read: Over 400 JEE Mains aspirants from 23 centres now under NTA scanner for ‘malpractice’


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