The Director General of the National Testing Agency, Subodh Kumar Singh, was removed from the post on Saturday amid controversy over irregularities in exams. Singh’s services were put on a “compulsory wait” in Department of Personnel and Training, the government said in a letter.

India Trade Promotion Organisation Chairman and MD Pradeep Singh Kharola was assigned additional charge of NTA DG till “appointment of a regular incumbent or until further orders…”. The change of guard was approved by the Appointments Committee of the Cabinet on Saturday.

The NTA is an autonomous body under the Ministry of Education of India. It conducts several entrance exams including NEET and UGC-NET.

The NTA came under the fire earlier this month after the government cancelled the UGC-NET even as there were allegations of “paper leak” in the NEET-UG  exam as well and demand for its cancellation.

According to news agency PTI, Union Education Minister Dharmendra Pradhan said on Saturday that the “top leadership” of the NTA is under the scanner over alleged irregularities in competitive exams NEET and NET.

Earlier in the day, the education ministry notified a seven-member panel headed by former ISRO chief K Radhakrishnan to ensure transparent, smooth and fair conduct of examinations through the NTA.

“Transparent, tamper-free and zero-error examinations is a commitment. Setting up of the high-level committee of experts is the first of a series of step to improve efficiency of the examination process, put an end to all possible malpractices, strengthen data security protocols and overhaul and reform the NTA. Student interests and their bright future will always be our govt’s top priority,” Pradhan posted on X.

On Friday night, the Centre operationalised a stringent law that aims to curb malpractice and irregularities in competitive examinations and entails provisions for a maximum jail term of 10 years and a fine of up to 1 crore for offenders.