The Gujarat Police have arrested five persons for alleged malpractice in the National Eligibility-Cum-Entrance Test conducted on May 5 at an examination centre in Panchmahal district’s Godhra, The Hindu reported on Friday.

The Bihar Police also said that an investigation into the alleged irregularities in the pre-medical entrance examination is “suggestive of a paper leak”, The Indian Express reported on Saturday.

Both these developments came after Union education minister Dharmendra Pradhan on Thursday said that no concrete evidence had been found yet to back up claims of a question paper leak and other irregularities in the examination, conducted by the National Testing Agency, for admission to undergraduate medical courses.

In Gujarat, the police are investigating alleged malpractices during the conduct of the National Eligibility-Cum-Entrance Test on May 5 at Jay Jalaram School, which was an examination centre, in Godhra’s Parvadi village.

According to the first information report, students and their parents, along with a coaching centre run by a group of teachers in Vadodara, were involved in the alleged irregularities, The Hindu reported.

The complaint said that students who had allegedly paid money were asked to skip questions they did not know the answers to during the examination. As per the arrangement, the answers to the blank questions were to be filled by the teachers involved in the alleged racket, according to The Hindu.

The complaint said that the attempt to facilitate the alleged malpractice was “thwarted” on May 5 during a raid at the examination centre by an inspection squad from the education department.

The deputy of the examination centre at the school, Tushar Bhatt, who is the prime accused person, was subsequently arrested along with education consultant Vibhor Anand and school principal Purshottam Sharma.

A Vadodara-based immigration agency owner named Parashuram Roy and another person, Arif Vora, were also arrested.

According to the police, four students allegedly paid Rs 66 lakh each to the coaching centre, The Hindu reported. Three others, on the other hand, gave blank cheques.

In Bihar, the Patna Police received information on May 5 of alleged irregularities in the conduct of the National Eligibility-Cum-Entrance Test at multiple examination centres and a case was filed, The Indian Express reported.

Subsequently, a Special Investigation Team formed by the state police’s Economic Offences Unit took over the probe. The team said that admit cards, along with post-dated cheques and certificates of several candidates, were seized from members of an “organised inter-state gang”.

Thirteen persons have been arrested in the case so far, The Indian Express reported, quoting an unidentified police official.

“Four are candidates who took the NEET [National Eligibility-Cum-Entrance Test],” the police official said. “The remaining are their parents and members of the organised gang, which allegedly gathered 35 candidates before the exam at a school under the jurisdiction of Ramakrishna Nagar police station, and conducted a mock exam. They allegedly received the NEET question paper with answers there.”

Additional Director-General of Police NH Khan told the newspaper that a set of questions was sent to the National Testing Agency. “Our team has just received answers,” he said. “We may have some follow-up questions. We have been working on some contacts we have received in the course of our investigation, which is very much suggestive of a paper leak.”

Khan said that the Special Investigation Team was attempting to establish “corroborative evidence, such as who got question and answer sheets and from where, and how it could have reached the examination centres”.

The results of the entrance examination were announced on June 4. Subsequently, several aspirants alleged that an inflation of marks had led to 67 candidates securing the top rank, including six from the same examination centre.

Some reports also alleged that at some centres, the question paper was leaked before the examination.

The National Testing Agency denied the allegations, saying that a revision in the answer key of the physics paper, along with compensatory marks provided for the loss of writing time, led to 67 candidates securing the top rank.

The Supreme Court has also been hearing a batch of petitions alleging question paper leaks, the “arbitrary” awarding of grace marks to some candidates and other irregularities in the examination.

On Friday, it issued notices to the Centre and the National Testing Agency on a plea seeking a Central Bureau of Investigation probe into the allegations.