Gujarat’s Godhra School at Centre of NEET Scam; Experts Allegedly Write Papers for Examinees

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Gujarat’s Godhra School at Centre of NEET Scam; Experts Allegedly Write Papers for Examinees

| Updated: June 27, 2024 19:51

In Gujarat, a major scandal has erupted in the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET) for medical course admissions, with a series of scams, including paper leaks, surfacing and raising serious concerns about the integrity of the examination process.

One incident occurred in Godhra, where NEET examinees’ papers were allegedly written by ‘experts’ in exchange for large sums of money within just half an hour during the designated time for ‘packing the paper’.

Jay Jalaram School

Students were reportedly instructed to leave blank any questions they couldn’t answer, only for the experts to fill in the answers later. Questions have been raised about the lack of serious investigation into the involvement of the administrator of Jay Jalaram International School in Godhra, where the scam allegedly took place.

Dr. Manish Doshi, Media Convenor and Spokesperson of the Gujarat Pradesh Congress Committee, expressed concerns about the allocation of the NEET examination centre to Jay Jalaram International School in Godhra, despite the availability of a Government Engineering College for the purpose.

“The trustee of the school, Dixit Patel, reportedly made a visit to Delhi on March 12, prompting questions about the nature of the visit and possible connections to the irregularities in the NEET registration process,” he claimed.

The controversy has also highlighted the alleged malpractices of the National Testing Agency (NTA) in the allotment of examination centres to specific candidates, raising suspicions of biases and manipulation.

Reports indicate that certain examinees experienced significant jumps in their ranks between attempts, suggesting possible collusion between students, exam centres and paper leakers.

In response to widespread public outcry and demands for accountability, the central government has transferred the investigation to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), signalling a more rigorous probe into the NEET exam scandal.

The connections to states like Gujarat, Bihar and Jharkhand have further complicated the matter, revealing a widespread network of corruption involving students, coaching classes and exam centres.

As investigations continue, there are growing calls for a thorough inquiry to ensure justice is served for hardworking students from all backgrounds. The focus remains on holding accountable those responsible for exploiting the system and depriving deserving candidates of fair opportunities.

Evidence of Alleged Scam

According to local reports, the Gujarat police provided the CBI with over 1,000 pages of evidence in a circuit house. This extensive evidence includes the accused’s phone location details, data on their activities, digital recordings of alleged pre-exam meetings and bank records indicating shady payments made by students totalling Rs 2.3 crore. The allegation was received at the Godhra Taluka Police Station and within 24 hours the state government sent the inquiry to the CBI.

CBI visits Exam Centres

On Wednesday, a CBI team visited two private schools in Gujarat’s Kheda and Panchmahal districts as part of its probe into alleged irregularities in the medical entrance exam NEET-UG held on May 5. The CBI team first visited Jay Jalaram International School in the Kheda district to collect information about NEET, as it was designated as one of the exam centres.

School owner Dixit Patel confirmed the visit, stating that the CBI team inspected the classrooms where candidates appeared for the NEET exam, took photographs and checked the angle of CCTV cameras installed there.

From Kheda, the CBI team visited Jay Jalaram School near Godhra town in Panchmahal district, which was also a test centre in the state. Both schools are owned by Patel.

A case was registered by Godhra police on May 8 against three individuals under various Indian Penal Code sections, including criminal conspiracy, cheating and criminal breach of trust, for allegedly trying to help 27 candidates clear the NEET-UG for a sum of Rs 10 lakh each.

On June 23, the CBI filed a fresh FIR against unidentified persons under IPC sections 120-B (criminal conspiracy) and 420 (cheating), among others, amid countrywide protests and litigation by students for a probe into paper leak claims.

The CBI has taken over the investigation of five new cases of alleged malpractices in NEET-UG that were being probed by police in Gujarat, Rajasthan and Bihar. The NEET-UG is conducted by the NTA for admissions to MBBS, BDS, AYUSH and other related courses in government and private institutions across the country.

So far, Gujarat police have arrested five individuals, including the principal and a teacher of a school in Godhra, in connection with the alleged irregularities in the NEET-UG exam. The racket was unearthed after the Panchmahal district collector received a tip-off about malpractice linked to the exam. Authorities prevented any malpractice at the centre and the exam was conducted without a hitch.

The arrested individuals include physics teacher Tushar Bhatt, school principal Parshottam Sharma, Vadodara-based education consultant Parsuram Roy, his aide Vibhor Anand and alleged middleman Arif Vohra. According to the FIR, Rs 7 lakh in cash was recovered from Bhatt, who was working as a teacher at Jay Jalaram School and was appointed the deputy centre superintendent for NEET in the city.

Out of 27 students who had either paid in advance or agreed to pay money to Roy and others, only three were able to clear the exam, according to sources.

The accused allegedly instructed candidates to solve questions they knew and leave the remaining blank, which would be filled by Bhatt when papers were collected after the exam. Over 24 lakh students appeared for NEET UG 2024 across centres in 571 cities nationwide, with results released on June 4.

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