NET Paper Leaked Sunday, Sold On Encrypted Social Media Platform: CBI Sources

UGC-NET paper leaked: The NET exam had been voided by the Education Ministry - already taking flak over the NEET-UG test - that cited input from a federal anti-cybercrime unit.

NET Paper Leaked Sunday, Sold On Encrypted Social Media Platform: CBI Sources

NET paper leak: Over nine lakh students had registered for the exam (File).

New Delhi:

The question paper for the UGC-NET exam that was held Tuesday was leaked 48 hours earlier and sold on the dark web and encrypted social media platforms for Rs 6 lakh, sources in the Central Bureau of Investigation told NDTV. The NET exam had been voided by the Education Ministry - already taking flak over the NEET-UG test - that cited input from a federal anti-cybercrime unit.

Sources said the source of the leak, however, is unclear at this time. The agency will work with the NTA or the National Testing Agency, which is the central body that conducts competitive exams.

The role of coaching centres - in which thousands of aspirants enroll, at great cost, in hope of cracking exams like NET, NEET (for medical courses), and IAS (for civil service) tests - in several states is also being investigated, sources said, explaining CBI officers could visit a few in person.

The CBI filed its first FIR, or first information report, in this case on Thursday, in which it accused as yet unidentified persons based on the ministry's complaint. The ministry had said information indicates "prima facie that the integrity of the examination may have been compromised".

READ | NET Cancelled Day After Exam. "Integrity Compromised": Centre

"Corruption Likely...": CBI Sources On NET Row

Also on Thursday, hours after the UGC-NET was voided - sources said the authorities believed a large-scale corruption racket is behind the leaked papers. Given this concerns, sources said officials charged with the exam's conduct, including those who set question papers, would be probed.

READ | On NET Row, Corruption Case Likely, Officials To Be Probed

Earlier the ministry - fending off opposition attacks over the NEET row - said it had been forced to void the NET "to ensure the highest level of transparency and sanctity of the examination process".

After the exam was scrapped, students protested on university campuses across the country, claiming they had flagged paper leaks last week, days before the exam, but no action was taken.

READ | NET Aspirants Allege Paper Leak, Day After Exam Got Scrapped

Students at Lucknow University said at least one paper had been leaked and was available for just Rs 5,000. This, they said, had been circulated via WhatsApp and Telegram groups from June 16.

UGC-NET refers to the University Grants Commission' National Eligibility Test - a qualifying exam for appointments to professorial posts in colleges and universities, as well as fellowships.

Over 11 lakh students had registered for the exam.

There have been furious protests by students and the opposition over the NET and NEET controversies; petitions over the latter are being heard by the Supreme Court.


In the NEET row, apart from allegations of leaked question papers, grace marks awarded to 1,563 candidates and the unusually high number of students scoring a perfect 720 have been red-flagged.

Petitioners demanded a re-test but, for now, the NTA has only agreed to roll-back marks of the 1,563 who got extra marks and has offered them a second chance.

Four men, including Anurag Yadav, a candidate, have been arrested in Bihar in the NEET row.

Mr Yadav, 22, told police he had been prepping at a coaching centre in Rajasthan's Kota.

READ | Bihar Student Arrested In NEET Case Was Told "It's Sorted"

"My uncle, Sikandar Yadavendu (also arrested) works as a junior municipal engineer. He told me to come back... said my result had been 'sorted'..." he said after his arrest.

Government Reacts

Education Minister Dharmendra Pradhan has declared that a high-level committee will be formed and that the interests of the students is the first priority of the government. 

READ | "Forming High-Level Committee...": Minister On Exams Row

 "I want to assure everyone that the government is committed to ensuring the interests of students. We will not compromise with that or with transparency..." he told reporters Thursday night.

Political Clash

This has also triggered a political blame game between the ruling BJP and the Congress-led opposition bloc, particularly in Bihar, where Deputy Chief Minister Vijay Sinha of the former party has accused his predecessor and RJD and opposition leader Tejashwi Yadav of links to the accused.

The RJD has rubbished the charge and said the BJP is trying to divert attention from its failure.

READ | In NEET Row In Bihar, BJP Accuses RJD, Opposition Hits Back

Congress leaders Rahul Gandhi, Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, and Mallikarjun Kharge, and Samajwadi Party boss Akhilesh Yadav, the Shiv Sena's Priyanka Chaturvedi, and the Trinamool's Saket Gokhale have also all hit out at the BJP on this topic.

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