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19 arrested so far in NEET paper leak case, probe uncovers their roles within network

By Alok Mohit and Neeraj Kumar

PATNA: The Economic Offenses Unit (EOU) of Bihar police on Saturday arrested six more persons from Deoghar in Jharkhand in the connection with the NEET paper leak case. With this the number of people arrested by the EOU has gone up to 19.

Police said the six arrested persons, all residents of Nalanda district in Bihar, were suspected to be handlers and couriers and had holed up in Deoghar.

Meanwhile, the Union ministry of education has sought from the EOU all evidence gathered so far during the investigation.

Among the 19 arrested, four are candidates–Abhishek Kumar (21), Shivnandan Kumar (19), Ayush Raj (19) and Anurag Yadav (22). The remaining arrested persons include members of the examination mafia and parents of candidates. Initial investigations suggest that established examination racketeers were behind the leak of the question paper.

The investigation has uncovered various roles within the network.

The police action began with the arrest of three persons– Sikandar Yadavendu, Akhilesh, and Bittu. ┬áDuring investigation, police found admit cards, mobile phones and other documents of many NEET exam candidates. As the investigation progressed, more arrests followed, taking their number to 19. The Patna Police had received intelligence about the paper leak from the Jharkhand Police.

Key figures in the scandal include Nitish Kumar from Gaya and Amit Anand from Munger, described as lower-level exam mafiosi with connections to larger criminal networks. They allegedly acted as middlemen, facilitating deals between candidates and the main exam mafia, taking substantial commissions in the process. The investigation has revealed various roles played by the accused, including arranging safe houses for candidates to memorise answers to the leaked questions, and coordinating transportation to exam centers.

Ashutosh Kumar from Patna and Roshan Kumar from Nalanda worked for Amit and Nitish, serving as “liners” who recruited candidates and managed logistics, including transporting candidates to exam centres after helping them to memorise the answers.

Sikandar Yadavendu, a key player in the leak, reportedly arranged deals worthRs 40 lakh each with candidates and their families to provide advance access to question papers. In this case, Yadavendu was playing the role of coordinator between the candidates and Nitish Kumar before the exam. He is also accused in a separate Rs 2.92-crore LED scam case while working as a junior engineer in Rohtas.

The arrested accused Akhilesh Kumar worked closely with Yadavendu. He was keen on getting his son pass the NEET exam. During the exam, he was responsible for safely transporting the children from a play school to the examination centre. He was responsible for safely delivering the question paper from the solver gang to the other gang leaders along with the answers. In return for this work, Akhilesh entered into a deal with Yadavendu according to which if remained active, he would have to pay less money for his son. While others had to pay Rs 40 lakh, Akhilesh was asked to give only Rs 20 lakh.

Another arrested accused Bittu Kumar of Rohtas ferried the candidates to Nitish. Apart from this, he also took the candidates from the school to the examination centre. Bittu has previously been involved in many question paper leak cases. The Delhi crime branch team had also arrested him earlier in the NEET-PG question paper leak case. Bittu is also said to be a close associate of key accused Sanjeev Mukhiya.

Awadhesh Kumar, who has also been arrested, is a resident of Ranchi. He had dealt with these exam mafias for his son Abhishek Kumar. One of the 19 arrested people is Reena Kumari who is the mother of candidate Anurag Yadav. Reena Kumari is Yadavendu’s sister-in-law.

Bihar Minister Ashok Chaudhary

Meanwhile, Bihar’s rural works minister Ashok Choudhary said the government was working on a zero-tolerance policy. He emphasised that no one involved in the NEET paper leak would be spared, regardless of their position. Choudhary also said the Union government had implemented strict laws to address such issues, and investigating agencies are actively pursuing the case.

The minister acknowledged that while a few bad actors could tarnish the reputation of an entire region, the government’s primary focus remained on development and ensuring that the benefits of progress reach all sections of society.

 

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