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Boy's claim on NASA test runs into controversy

Press Trust of India

Posted: Feb 24, 2005 at 1004 hrs IST

Doubts have arisen over the claim by a 17-year-old boy of Uttar Pradesh that he had topped the NASA's International Scientist Discovery Examination, with the American space agency today denying existence of any such test.

The widely-publicised reports of Saurabh Singh of Ballia of topping the test had also claimed that President A P J Abdul Kalam had also appeared for the examination long back and stood seventh.

The claim ran into a controversy when NASA asserted that it never held such a test on a day when the President and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh were scheduled to meet the boy but cancelled their appointments at the last moment.

"I have not been able to confirm that such an examination exists. I have checked all appropriate offices of NASA and based on our investigation, it can be said that it (examination) does not exist," NASA spokesperson Debia Rahn said over phone from Washington.

Kalam's Press Secretary S M Khan said, "the President had never appeared in any such examination of any foreign country." Meanwhile, Uttar Pradesh Chief Secretary V K Mittal said the Ballia District Magistrate has collected all relevant documents from Saurabh on the basis of which he has made the claim and these would be studied.

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