Congress questions PM Modi’s silence; says NEET scam is Vyapam 2.0

Congress leader Pawan Khera claimed that the "NEET scam is Vyapam 2.0" and the Modi government wants to whitewash it.

ByPTI

Published Jun 14, 2024 | 5:19 PM Updated Jun 14, 2024 | 5:21 PM

Congress leader Pawan Khera addressing a press conference.

Stepping up its attack on the government over the NEET exam issue, the Congress on Friday, 14 June, questioned Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s “silence” on the matter and asserted that only a Supreme Court-monitored forensic probe could safeguard the future of lakhs of young students.

Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge claimed that the Modi government has started “covering up the NEET scam” through Education Minister Dharmendra Pradhan and the National Testing Agency (NTA).

“If the paper was not leaked in NEET then — why were 13 accused arrested in Bihar due to paper leak? Did the Economic Offences Unit (EOU) of Patna police not expose the payment of ₹30 lakh-₹50 lakh to the education mafia and organised gangs involved in the racket in exchange for papers?” he said in a post in Hindi on X.

“Has NEET-UG cheating racket not been busted in Godhra, Gujarat? In which three people are involved including a person running a coaching centre, a teacher and another person and according to Gujarat Police, transactions of more than ₹12 crore have come to light between the accused?” Kharge said.

Related: SC seeks response of Centre, NTA on plea for CBI probe into NEET ‘irregularities’

Questions arrests

If according to the Modi government, no paper was leaked in NEET, then why were these arrests made, he asked.

“What conclusion is drawn from this? Was the Modi government trying to fool the people of the country earlier or now? The Modi government has crushed the aspirations of 24 lakh youth,” Kharge said.

24 lakh youth appear in the NEET exam to become doctors, and work hard day and night for one lakh medical seats, he said.

“Out of these 1 lakh seats, around 55,000 are in government colleges where seats are reserved for SC, ST, OBC, EWS categories. This time the Modi government has misused the NTA and has massively rigged the marks and ranks, due to which the cut-off for reserved seats has also increased,” the Congress chief alleged.

It appears that a game of grace marks, paper leaks and rigging was played to deprive meritorious students from getting government admission at concessional rates, Kharge said.

Addressing a press conference on the issue at the AICC headquarters in New Delhi, Congress’ media and publicity department head Pawan Khera claimed that the “NEET scam is Vyapam 2.0” and the Modi government wants to whitewash it.

The scam in Vyapam or Madhya Pradesh Professional Examination Board broke out in 2013, wherein candidates had bribed officials and rigged exams by deploying imposters to write their answer sheets.

‘Rubbing salt on wounds’

Pradhan’s brazen statement of calling widespread protests, multiple court cases and tremendous outrage by students as “motivated” is like rubbing salt on the wounds of 24 lakh aspirants, whose future is being destroyed by the BJP, Khera said.

Posing questions to PM Modi and Pradhan, Khera asked is it not true that the Economic Offences Unit (EOU) of the Patna Police (Bihar) which is probing the NEET-UG 2024 paper leak, has found medical aspirants paid huge sums ranging from ₹30 lakh to ₹50 lakh each to ‘brokers’ involved in the racket, to get access to question papers ahead of the examination on 5 May.

“Can the Education Minister deny that a NEET-UG cheating racket has been busted in Gujarat’s Godhra involving three people including a person who runs coaching centre, a teacher and one another, wherein the investigation in the case has revealed transaction worth over Rs 12 crore between students, their parents and the accused?” he said.

Is it not a fact that this year, in 2024, there were 67 toppers who were given a perfect score of 720, while in 2023, the number was just two, Khera said.

Is it not true that this year saw an abnormal increase in the students getting scores above 690, he asked.

“Is it not true that multiple NEET-UG 2024 toppers belong to the same state and have similar roll numbers? Were they from the same examination centres?” he said.

Is it not true that the results of the NEET Examination were declared 10 days earlier, Khera further asked.

Related: From grace marks to alleged paper leak: NEET UG exam row explained

‘PM cannot remain a mute spectator’

“PM Modi cannot always remain a mute spectator. Why is he silent when the future of 24 lakh youngsters is at stake?” he said.

Khera asked why did the Modi government and the NTA “inflate” marks versus ranks, this year.

“The complete result of last year and this year of students scoring 580 plus should be made public by NTA if the Modi government claims that the entire examination process is transparent. The centres of students scoring 580 plus should also be made public to see how many students travelled far off from their place to take NEET exam,” he said.

Khera said the board marks should also be correlated with NEET marks for last year and this year to see how much the data correlates.

“The videos of centres where there are major high scorers must be released so that this scam can be identified as OMR was filled after exam or at NTA office or some impersonation happened so that the truth comes out,” he said.

Only a Supreme Court-monitored forensic probe is a solution to safeguard the future of lakhs of young students, Khera asserted.

The Centre and the NTA had on Thursday told the Supreme Court they had cancelled the grace marks given to 1,563 candidates who took the examination for admission to MBBS and other such courses.

They will have the option to either take a re-test or forgo the compensatory marks awarded to them for loss of time, the Centre had said.

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