CBI likely to file charge sheet against youth who circulated 'doctored' screenshot of UGC-NET paper

New Delhi: The CBI is preparing to file a charge sheet against a youth accused of circulating a "doctored" screenshot of the UGC-NET paper on Telegram, which prompted the cancellation of the exam following an alert from the Union home ministry about a potential breach.

According to officials familiar with the matter, the CBI's investigation did not uncover a large-scale conspiracy. Instead, it focused on potential offences related to attempt to cheat or cheating in connection with the incident.
The probe revealed that the screenshot of the allegedly leaked question paper for the June 18 exam was manipulated by a school student, sources within the agency disclosed.
"The CBI has informally communicated its findings to the government and is expected to proceed with filing a charge sheet against the youth," the officials stated.
Over 11 lakh candidates had registered for the UGC-NET exam, which serves as a gateway for junior research fellowship, assistant professorship appointments, and PhD admissions in Indian universities and colleges.
The exam was abruptly cancelled by the Union education ministry on June 19 following alerts from the Union home ministry's National Cyber Crime Threat Analytics Unit of the Indian Cyber Crime Coordination Centre (I4C).
"The UGC received specific inputs indicating potential compromise of the examination's integrity from the National Cyber Crime Threat Analytics Unit," the ministry of education stated after announcing the cancellation.
Initially reported to have been available on the Darknet and allegedly offered for sale on messaging platforms for Rs 5-6 lakh, forensic analysis confirmed that the screenshot shared by the youth was manipulated using an application to falsely suggest access to the exam paper.
The UGC-NET examination is now scheduled to be reconducted from August 21 to September 4 following the cancellation.
The CBI's findings, based on consultations with forensic experts, underscored the youth's attempt to mislead by altering the screenshot's date to June 17 and implying access to subsequent subject-specific papers. Investigations are ongoing to ensure the integrity of future examinations and address concerns raised by the incident.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle )
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