NEET Exam Probe: CBI Seeks Remand of Accused Individuals from Godhra

NEET Exam Probe

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Friday sought a 4-day remand for four out of the five individuals detained by Gujarat police over suspected involvement in NEET-UG exam irregularities held in Godhra, Panchmahal district.

CBI lawyer Dhruv Malik informed the district court that despite an earlier investigation by Gujarat police, the agency requires custody of these accused for a fresh probe.

The individuals sought by CBI include school teacher Tushar Bhatt, Jay Jalaram School principal Purushottam Sharma, and middlemen Vibhor Anand and Arif Vohra. The agency did not seek remand for education consultant Parsuram Roy. Currently, all five are held at Godhra sub jail.

Principal District Judge CK Chauhan expressed reservations about the CBI’s remand application, citing that police or investigative agencies generally cannot seek custody beyond the initial 15 days post-arrest. Referring to a 1992 Supreme Court decision in the CBI vs. Anupam Kulkarni case, Judge Chauhan stated that a new remand after this period can only be granted under specific conditions, such as hospitalization or non-cooperation during the initial remand.

Malik countered, arguing that Section 167 of the Code of Criminal Procedure permits remand beyond the initial 15 days if deemed necessary by the court. He highlighted that CBI’s investigation spans multiple states including Gujarat, Rajasthan, Bihar, Delhi, and Jharkhand, suggesting a wider conspiracy.

According to Malik, the accused allegedly directed candidates to select Jay Jalaram School as their exam center based on prior knowledge that OMR answer sheets were stored there overnight during last year’s NEET, enabling them to execute their plan.

The court scheduled further proceedings for Saturday to decide on CBI’s remand request. Earlier, a CBI team recorded statements from six candidates allegedly involved in paying bribes to clear the NEET-UG at Jay Jalaram School.

The Godhra police had filed a case on May 8 under IPC sections including criminal conspiracy, cheating, and criminal breach of trust against three individuals accused of aiding 27 candidates by charging Rs. 10 lakh each. Recently, on June 23, CBI filed a new FIR against unidentified persons under IPC sections 120-B (criminal conspiracy) and 420 (cheating) amidst nationwide student protests and legal actions demanding investigation into alleged paper leaks.

CBI has taken over five new cases related to NEET-UG malpractices under investigation by police in Gujarat, Rajasthan, and Bihar. The racket came to light after a tip-off to the Panchmahal district collector regarding malpractices linked to the exam, leading to preventive measures during the exam at Jay Jalaram School.

Physics teacher Tushar Bhatt, school principal Parshottam Sharma, education consultant Parsuram Roy, his associate Vibhor Anand, and middleman Arif Vohra were arrested based on the FIR filed at Godhra taluka police station.

The FIR noted that Rs. 7 lakh cash was seized from Bhatt, who served as deputy center superintendent for NEET at Jay Jalaram School. The accused allegedly instructed candidates to leave certain questions unanswered, promising to fill in the answers after collecting the papers.

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About the Author: Nunnem Gangte