The Centre on Wednesday cancelled the University Grants Commission–National Eligibility Test, conducted for the post of assistant professor in universities and colleges, saying that the integrity of the examination “may have been compromised”.

The exam was conducted by the National Testing Agency on June 18 in an Optical Mark Recognition, or OMR format, with the option of pen and paper mode in two shifts across the country.

On Wednesday, the National Cyber Crime Threat Analytics Unit of Indian Cyber Crime Coordination Centre told the University Grants Commission that the examination may have been compromised, the Union Ministry of Education said.

However, the authority did not say how the exam was compromised. “Fresh Examination shall be conducted, for which information shall be shared separately,” the Centre said. “Matter being handed over to CBI [Central Bureau of Investigation] for thorough investigation in the matter.”

The development comes amid allegations of question paper leaks, the “arbitrary” awarding of grace marks to some candidates and other irregularities in the National Eligibility-Cum-Entrance Test conducted on May 5. The test is conducted for admission into medical colleges in the country.

The Supreme Court is also hearing plea regarding the matter.

On Wednesday the Centre said that the concern pertaining to grace marks has been addressed.

“As regards certain irregularities alleged in the conduct of the examination in Patna, a detailed report has been sought from the Economic Offences Unit, Bihar Police,” the Ministry of Education said. “Government will take further action, on receipt of this report.”

‘Paper leak government’, says Opposition

The Congress on Wednesday said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led coalition government in the Centre is “playing with the future of the youth”.

“Yesterday UGC-NET exam was conducted in various cities of the country,” the party said. “Today the exam was cancelled due to suspicion of paper leak. First the NEET paper was leaked and now UGC-NET paper. Modi Government has become a ‘Paper Leak Government’.”

Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge said that while cancelling the University Grants Commission–National Eligibility Test is a “victory of the spirit of millions of students”, the Centre should cancel the NEET exams as well.

“This is the defeat of the arrogance of the Modi government due to which they made a despicable attempt to trample the future of our youth,” he said in a post on X. “The Union Education Minister had earlier said that no paper was leaked in NEET. When arrests are made of education mafia in Bihar, Gujarat and Haryana, the Education Minister accepts that some scam has taken place.”

Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav alleged that the “paper mafia is rigging every exam, one after the other under the Bharatiya Janata Party regime”.

Yadav said: “With no UGC-NET exam, the shortage of teachers will increase even more. The shortage of teachers will hinder the mental development of the country, which will prove to be extremely fatal for the country in the long run.”