CBI registers FIR to probe UGC-NET paper leak case

CBI registers FIR to probe UGC-NET paper leak case

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has registered a case in connection with the UGC NET paper leak against “unknown accused” based on the complaint of the Union Education Minister.

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) started investigating the UGC NET paper leak a day after the exam was canceled. The case against the ‘unknown accused’ was registered based on a complaint filed by the Secretary of the Education Department.

“A complaint has been filed against unknown persons for compromising the integrity of the UGC NET exam conducted on June 18,” the federal agency said in a statement.

The UGC NET exam was conducted on June 18 in two shifts at 1,205 exam centers across 317 cities across the country. Over 11.21 lakh candidates registered for the exam, including 6.35 lakh female candidates and 4.85 lakh male candidates. However, only 9.08 lakh candidates actually appeared for the exam.

What is UGC NET?

UGC NET stands for University Grants Commission National Eligibility Test. It is a national level examination conducted twice a year by the National Testing Agency to assess the eligibility of candidates for the positions of “Assistant Professor” and “Junior Research Fellow and Assistant Professor” as well as for PhD admissions. It takes place every year in June and December.

Why was the UGC NET exam canceled?

On June 19, the Union Ministry of Education announced the cancellation of the UGC NET 2024 exam after receiving inputs from the Ministry of Home Affairs that the integrity of the exam may have been compromised . According to the minister, a “specific questionnaire” was leaked on the darknet.

In response to this serious violation, the authorities decided to cancel the examination in order to ensure the transparency and sanctity of the examination process. The revised exam dates will be announced soon.

“The government is committed to ensuring the sanctity of the examinations and protecting the interests of students. The Ministry of Education has decided that the June 2024 UGC-NET examination will be canceled based on inputs from the Indian Center for Cybercrime Coordination (I4C) under the Ministry of the Interior, prima facie indicating that the integrity of the exam may have been compromised,” the Ministry of Education published on its official X platform.

In view of the gravity of the situation, Education Minister Dharmendra Pradhan also announced the formation of a high-level committee to improve the functioning of the NTA and ensure error-free examinations, thereby eliminating leaks of paper. Although the minister did not disclose details on the composition of the committee, he said it would make recommendations on the structure, operations, review processes, transparency and data security protocols of the NTA.

Cancellation of UGC NET 2024: What is the new “anti-paper leak” law?

The Union education ministry has referred the UGC NET 2024 paper leak case to the CBI for investigation. The federal agency filed a charge of criminal conspiracy and cheating after receiving the complaint from the Union Education Minister.

The Education Ministry has further sought a report from the Economic Offenses Unit of the Bihar Police regarding alleged irregularities in the administration of the National Eligibility and Entrance Test (NEET-UG) 2024 in Patna . He said further action would be taken as per the reports.

This offense falls under the Anti-Paper Leak Law, which was approved by President Droupadi Murmu in February, making it into law. This legislation aims to prevent leaks, embezzlement and organized embezzlement during recruitment exams.

UGC NET canceled Latest Updates: Public Examination Penalties (Prevention of Unfair Means) Act, 2024

Public Examination Punishment (Prevention of Unfair Means) Act, 2024, imprisonment of three to five years and fine of up to Rs 10 lakh. In cases involving organized crime, such as those involving examination authorities, service providers or other institutions, the punishment includes imprisonment of 5 to 10 years and a minimum fine of Rs 1 crore.