Source of NEET leak likely courier, transport firm staff

Neet paper Leak

The NEET-UG question paper for the May 5 entrance test may have been leaked on May 3 while being transported from the Ranchi airport to an office of courier company Blue Dart, and then to the Hazaribagh branch of the State Bank of India (SBI) with the help of employees of either the transport company or the courier agency, officials aware of the matter said.

Bihar police’s Economic Offences Unit (EOU), which arrested 18 people and recorded the statements of SBI and Blue Dart employees, handed its case files to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) which took over the case. Police officials, who asked not to be named, said that those arrested – including members of a gang in Nalanda – have, in the past, bribed employees of courier companies, drivers involved in transportation and photographed question papers en route to different exam centres.

Bihar police have also shared with CBI details of their investigation that show how the 2024 NEET-UG question paper was driven first by a transport company driver for over a 100km route and then by an e-rickshaw to the bank for a distance of less than 2km.

The 2024 NEET-UG, conducted by the National Testing Agency (NTA) for admissions to MBBS, BDS, and other related undergraduate courses across India, has been beset with a series of allegations ranging from question paper leaks, inflated marking and arbitrary allowance of grace marks – issues that have become a nationwide flashpoint for political parties, leading to thousands of students protesting for weeks.

This year’s examination was conducted on May 5 at 4,750 centres in 571 cities, including 14 abroad with 2.3 million candidates appearing for it. After a month of investigations in states like Bihar and Gujarat, the first FIR by CBI in the paper leak case was registered on Sunday, a day after the Union education ministry announced it would hand over the probe into the alleged irregularities in the conduct of the exam to the central agency.

A second officer said that their investigations revealed that the question papers were brought to the Ranchi airport by flight on May 3. The Hazaribagh (Jharkhand) Blue Dart office hired a transport company to ferry the papers to different exam centres around Hazaribagh, the officials said.