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The Hindu
The Hindu
Devesh K Pandey

CBI arrests Russian ‘hacker’ in 2021 JEE-Main tampering case

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Monday arrested a Russian national, who was held at the Indira Gandhi International Airport on arrival from Kazakhstan’s Almaty, for questioning pertaining to the alleged tampering of the Joint Entrance Examination (JEE) (Main) about a year ago.

The person, identified as Mikhail Shargin, is suspected to have helped the other accused persons in hacking into the software platform on which the examination was held. He was intercepted by the immigration officials at the airport on the strength of a look-out circular opened against him.

“During investigation, it came to light that some foreign nationals were involved in compromising many online examinations, including the JEE (Mains)...the role of one Russian national was revealed, who had allegedly tampered with the iLeon software — the platform on which the JEE(Main)-2021 examination was conducted,” said a CBI official.

The agency had registered the case on September 1, 2021, against Affinity Education Private Limited, its directors, employees and others. They were allegedly helping the candidates secure admission in top National Institutes of Technology by solving the question paper through remote access from an examination centre in Haryana’s Sonepat.

The accused would collect the original Class X and XII mark-sheets of the willing candidates, their user IDs and passwords and post-dated cheques as security. On confirmation of admissions, they would collect money ranging from ₹12 lakh to ₹15 lakh per candidate as commission.

After registering the case, the agency had conducted searches in the national capital region, Pune, Jamshedpur, Indore and Bengaluru and seized 25 laptops, seven personal computers and 30 post-dated cheques and huge stash of documents. It had also arrested seven persons, including two directors and four employees of Affinity Education.

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