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Dharmendra Pradhan Dismisses NEET-UG Paper Leak Allegations

Union education minister Dharmendra Pradhan on Thursday rejected the allegations of National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (Undergraduate) or NEET-UG paper leak as baseless while reiterating the government’s commitment to safeguarding the interest of students.

“There was no paper leak. No proof has been found yet…The allegations of corruption in NTA [National Testing Agency] are unfounded. It is a very credible body,” said Pradhan as he took charge of the education ministry for the second consecutive time on Thursday.

The comments came on the day the Supreme Court accepted the government’s suggestion for conducting a retest of 1563 students, who got grace marks due to loss of time during the exam. The government said scores without grace marks will be considered in case of those who do not wish to take the retest.

A four-member committee formed to review the results of 1563 students recommended the retest, which has been scheduled for June 23.

The NTA, which released a notification announcing the scrapping of grace marks, said on Wednesday that at least 63 cases of unfair means including cheating and impersonation were found during the NEET-UG for admission to undergraduate medical courses while denying the allegations of paper leak.

NTA officials said the number of toppers has decreased from 67 to 61 after the scrapping of grace marks. “Six of the 67 candidates got grace marks due to loss in time. Now, either they will accept their original marks or they can take the retest on June 23,” said an NTA official.

Pradhan said that NEET-UG was held at over 4500 centres and incorrect question distribution was reported from just six of them. “The correct question paper was later provided but that took a little bit of time. Around 1563 students took the exams at these centres and had to face time loss.”

Pradhan said 1563 students were given grace marks as per a Supreme Court order. “NTA constituted an expert committee and applied the grace mark rule. Later, it was found that some students got 100% marks. Some people went to the court. The Supreme Court has given a verdict that 1563 students will be given the option to either reappear in the NEET exam or accept the original marks.”

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