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NEET-UG paper leak: CBI arrests 2 more in Patna

The Central Bureau Of Investigation (CBI) on Tuesday arrested two more persons in Patna in the National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test (Undergraduate) 2024 paper leak case; one was identified as a candidate named Sunny Kumar, a resident of Nalanda, while the other was Ranjit Kumar, father of another candidate from Gaya, said agency sources.

A total of 27 people have been arrested by Bihar Police, Economic Offences Unit (EOU) and CBI in the case. With the fresh arrest, the federal agency alone has arrested nine persons from Bihar.

Mr. Sunny Kumar was the fifth person arrested from Nalanda by the Central agency; the others being ‘solver gang’ members Panku Kumar and Paramjit Singh alias Bittu from Chhabilapur, Rajeev Kumar alias Karu from Ekangarsarai, Baldev Kumar alias Chintu from Gulariya Bigha in Nalanda.

However, Sanjeev Mukhiya, believed to be the kingpin of an inter-State gang in the case, and his relative Rocky alias Rajesh Ranjan, both from Nalanda, were absconding.

On Tuesday, a CBI team also searched the house of Shivnandan Kumar, a NEET-UG candidate who was already in jail. The seven-member team reached Haraiya village under Barachatti police station limits in Gaya to collect evidence for the ongoing investigation. After seven hours of interrogation, they detained Mr. Shivnandan Kumar’s uncle Niranjan Yadav for a few hours. The CBI was also looking for the candidate’s father Ramswaroop Yadav alias Sadhu Yadav but could not locate him. Other members of the family were also quesitoned.

Mr. Shivnandan Kumar was the candidate named in a confessional statement by Sikandar Prasad Yadavendu, a junior engineer in the Danapur Municipal Corporation who admitted to having taken four candidates to a location in Patna where they could “memorise the answers” on the eve of the exam. Mr. Shivnandan Kumar had reportedly struck a deal to ₹40 lakh for the arrangement and was believed to have paid half that amount the day before the exam.

The four candidates later confessed that the question paper they studied was the same one given to them during the exam on May 5.

From which village, the CBI arrested Sunny Kumar is not known yet. The CBI earlier arrested Hazaribagh Oasis School principal Ahsanul Haque and Vice Principal Imtiaz Alam, along with a Hindi newspaper journalist Jamaluddin who allegedly assisted them on the day of examination.

The Bihar EOU had said that a partially burnt question paper seized from the play school in Patna matched with the question paper received from the National Testing Agency (NTA), and the series of that question paper was sent to the examination centre at the Oasis School, Hazaribagh.

Sources said that the CBI — investigating the chain of custody of the question papers — had recorded the statements of several persons from exam centres in other States as well. An in-depth investigation was being done to determine at when exactly the leak/breach took place.

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