Published: 02nd March 2021
Madras High Court orders CB-CID probe in alleged NEET OMR manipulation
The candidate stated that he downloaded his answer sheet twice on different dates from National Testing Agency (NTA) website and found disparities in the answers marked
The Madras High Court on Monday ordered a CB-CID probe into the alleged OMR sheet tampering plea moved by a Coimbatore-based student in connection with the National Eligibility Entrance Test (NEET).
The order came after the candidate was able to show the court screenshots to back up his claim that two different OMR sheets were uploaded online in his name by the NTA. The candidate KS Manoj, from Karumathampatti in Coimbatore, who moved the court stated that he downloaded his NEET answer sheet twice on October 15 and October 17 from National Testing Agency (NTA) website and found disparities in the answers marked. In his petition, he stated that he had got 594 marks out of 720 when he downloaded the the first time, but only 248 marks when he downloaded it the second time.
The single-member bench of Justice Pugalendi also observed that only a preliminary inquiry should be conducted by the investigative agency without registering an FIR and the inquiry report should be submitted to the court in another three months. "The CB-CID shall constitute a special team with the involvement of cybersecurity experts and conduct the probe without registering any case with a report submitted in the next three months." It also added that, "If the prima facie is made out in the case, we shall decide its next course."
Earlier, the counsel for the Central government Additional Solicitor General Sankara Narayanan submitted that the National Information Commission, which is an independent body, could investigate the allegations. However, the counsel of the petitioner submitted that an independent probe is required with the involvement of a central premier investigation agency such as the CBI as there is a prima facie in the case, with allegations of the entire system being vulnerable.
Refuting the entire submission, the counsel for the NTA submitted that all the sheets that are provided by the agency cannot be manipulated since they are chemically treated and in this case, there are signatures of two separate invigilators and that requires a thorough investigation to establish the case. The court passing the orders disposed of the plea for the CB-CID to file a report by June 6.