NEET row: Who is prime suspect Sikandar Yadvendu? All you need to know | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
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NEET row: Who is prime suspect Sikandar Yadvendu? All you need to know

Jun 22, 2024 01:35 PM IST

The Economic Offences Unit of Bihar Police has arrested 13 people, including four NEET-UG 2024 examinees and their family members, all from Bihar.

The Bihar Police's Economic Offences Unit (EOU), which is leading the investigation into the medical exam National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test (NEET), has identified Sikandar Yadvendu as the main suspect allegedly responsible for distributing the exam's question papers illegally.

Students burn an effigy during their protest against the NEET UG entrance exam paper leak, in Patna. (ANI)
Students burn an effigy during their protest against the NEET UG entrance exam paper leak, in Patna. (ANI)

The Economic Offences Unit (EOU) has arrested 13 people, including four NEET-UG 2024 examinees and their family members, all from Bihar. Deputy Inspector General (DIG) Manavjit Singh Dhillon stated that the EOU has also issued notices to nine other candidates to join the investigation, with seven from Bihar, one from Uttar Pradesh, and one from Maharashtra.

Among those arrested are Anurag Yadav, a NEET candidate, his uncle Sikandar Yadvendu, and two others named Nitish Kumar and Anand on May 5. Anurag told the police that Yadavendu had promised to provide the exam questions before the test.

The NEET-UG 2024 results were announced on June 4, leading to an uproar over alleged discrepancies. As per reports, nine candidates, along with the four arrested examinees, received the exam's question paper and answers in a 'safe house' near Patna a day before the exam on May 5.

ALSO READ | Decoding the NEET exam controversy to finding ways to prevent recurrence in future, here's what experts said

During questioning, the candidates revealed that their parents paid over 30 lakh each to get the question papers in advance. These candidates were brought to a rented house in Ramkrishna Nagar, Patna, where they were given the papers and answers. Police searched the premises and found mobile phones, admit cards, and other incriminating documents.

Who is Sikandar Yadvendu and how was he involved in the leak?

Yadvendu is a junior engineer at the municipal committee of Danapur and has been arrested as the prime suspect in the paper leak case. The 56-year-old comes from a farmer's family and used to work as a small contractor until 2012, the Indian Express reported.

Living in a rented flat in Rupaspur in Patna's Danapur, Yadvendu holds a diploma in engineering and has worked as a contractor for over a decade.

Yadvendu's father was a farmer and his family owns around eight bighas of land in Bihar's Samastipur. After finishing class 10 in the 1980s, he moved to Ranchi for further studies and got a diploma.

In 2012, when the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) was in power in Bihar, Yadvendu secured a job as a junior engineer in the state's water resources department. In 2016, Yadavendu was implicated in a 2.92 crore LED scam in the Rohtas Municipal Council, where he was in charge. He was accused of buying LEDs at inflated prices for Dalmianagar. He was arrested and later released on bail, Indian Express report stated.

ALSO READ | ‘Scams under BJP rule pushing country's future into darkness’: Priyanka Gandhi amid UGC-NET, NEET row

In 2021, he reportedly used his connections to get transferred to the urban development and housing department, securing a position in the Danapur Municipal Council. Indian Express reported that he had influence there and would approve the layouts for new apartment projects in the area.

The political row over Yadavendu

On Thursday, Bihar Deputy chief minister Vijay Sinha alleged that Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) leader Tejashwi Yadav's personal secretary, Pritam Kumar, contacted a National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) guest house worker to reserve a room for Yadavendu.

“On May 1, Tejashwi Yadav's personal secretary Pritam Kumar called guesthouse worker Pradip Kumar to book a room for Sikander Kumar Yadavendu who was jailed in Ranchi. On May 4, Pritam Kumar called Pradip Kumar again to book the room in the NHAI guest house. The word 'Mantri' was used for Tejashwi Yadav. Tejashwi Yadav should clarify if Pritam Kumar is still his PS and he should also clarify who Sikander Kumar Yadavendu is. When Lalu Prasad Yadav was jailed in Ranchi, Sikander Kumar Yadavendu used to be at Lalu's service. He was a Junior Engineer in the irrigation department. They play with the future of the people. They do scams when they are in power and they try to influence the appointment process,” he said at a press conference.

ALSO READ | Bihar deputy CM claims Tejashwi Yadav's aide linked to NEET-UG 2024 paper leak

Responding to the allegations, Yadav said on Friday, “The INDIA alliance is united on this issue. We want the NEET exam to be immediately cancelled. The (BJP) have all the investigation agencies, they can call the PS or PA anyone for probe. They want to divert the issue from the kingpin. Those who want to drag my name or my PA's name, this will not benefit anyone. The engineer who is talked about could be a beneficiary but Amit Anand and Nitish Kumar are the masterminds of the paper leak. The people of the country know that whenever BJP comes to power, then paper leaks happen.”

He added, “Only Vijay Sinha is making these claims. The Economic Offences Wing (EOU) has never raised any question. When the arrests happened in May since then we have been raising our voices to carry out a probe. The engineer (Sikandar Yadvendu) about whom they are talking was recruited in 2021 by them in the urban development from the water resources department. Why do they want to save Amit Anand and Nitish Kumar? The truth will prevail soon. When paper leaks happened in the third phase of teachers' recruitment test (TRE) conducted by BPSC the accused get bail without going to prison.”

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