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Sikandar Yadvendu, the mastermind behind NEET 2024 paper leak scandal

Sikandar Yadvendu, a junior engineer with a controversial past, orchestrated the NEET paper leak of 2024, impacting thousands of students and exposing flaws in the examination system. His story reveals a trajectory marked by ambition, corruption, and repeated legal troubles.

EPN Desk 22 June 2024 09:23

Students protesting against NTA

Students protesting against NTA

The 2024 NEET paper leak has emerged as a significant educational scandal, shaking the faith of millions in the integrity of competitive exams in India.

At the heart of this scandal is Sikandar Yadvendu, a 56-year-old junior engineer working at the Danapur Municipal Council.

Yadvendu’s involvement in the scandal reveals a deeper story of ambition and corruption, from his roots in a farming family to his repeated legal troubles.

Sikandar Yadvendu was born into a modest farming family in Samastipur, Bihar, which owned 4.96 acres of land.

After completing his tenth grade in the 1980s, he moved to Ranchi to pursue a diploma in engineering.

This marked the beginning of his journey away from his agrarian roots, as he transitioned into a career as a contractor, a role he held for fifteen years.

Yadvendu's career took a significant turn in 2012 when he secured a junior engineer position with the water resources department in Bihar, a move facilitated during the NDA's governance.

This position marked his entry into public service, but it also set the stage for a series of controversies that would define his professional life.

In 2016, Yadvendu’s career was marred by a major scandal. He was implicated in a Rs 2.92 crore LED scam within the Rohtas Municipal Council, where he held an additional charge.

Despite being arrested and subsequently released on bail, Yadvendu managed to maintain his professional standing. By 2021, leveraging his connections, he orchestrated a transfer to the urban development and housing department, where he was stationed in the Danapur Municipal Council.

Yadvendu’s ability to navigate the bureaucratic system was evident again in 2023 when a dispute with senior colleagues led to his transfer back to the water resources department, a decision he managed to reverse.

This showcased his adeptness in maneuvering through administrative channels and retaining influence.

The NEET Paper Leak Scandal

The NEET paper leak scandal that happened in May 2024 exposed the vulnerabilities within the Indian examination system.

Investigations by the Economic Offences Unit (EOU) of Bihar Police revealed Yadvendu as the mastermind behind the leak. He allegedly provided the NEET question papers to four candidates, including his nephew Anurag Yadav, a day before the exam. Each candidate was charged Rs 40 lakh for the leaked papers.

The scandal unfolded when authorities discovered an incriminating OMR sheet and an entry in the guest house register with the names 'Anurag Yadav' and the mysterious 'Mantri Ji.' Anurag, who was preparing for NEET-UG 2024 in Kota, confessed that his uncle had given him the leaked papers and introduced him to middlemen Nitish Kumar and Amit Anand.

These middlemen were notorious for their involvement in leaking prestigious exam papers.

Anurag Yadav’s arrest sent shockwaves through his hometown, Pirdah village in Samastipur.

Villagers expressed their disbelief and disappointment, highlighting the hard work of Anurag’s father, a farmer who had strived to provide his son with a good education.

The scandal not only tarnished the family’s reputation but also impacted the morale of sincere students preparing for competitive exams.

“We are heartbroken. This incident has crushed the spirit of many hardworking students,” lamented a villager. Another added, “Such actions undermine the efforts of honest students and erode trust in the educational system.”

The NEET-UG 2024 exam, conducted across 4,750 centers with around 24 lakh candidates, saw immediate fallout from the scandal.

The Supreme Court has called for stringent action against any negligence in the exam's conduct.

Union Education Minister Dharmendra Pradhan announced a high-level panel to investigate the functioning of the National Testing Agency (NTA).

Despite the outrage and demands for re-conducting the exam, the government emphasized that isolated incidents should not overshadow the achievements of genuine candidates.

The scandal has prompted calls for robust measures to prevent such malpractices in the future.

The arrest of Sikandar Yadvendu in the NEET paper leak case has laid bare the systemic flaws and the potential for corruption within the examination system. Yadvendu’s story, from a farmer’s son to a controversial figure in public service, is a cautionary tale of how ambition and corruption can lead to downfall and disgrace.

As investigations continue, the focus remains on ensuring fairness and restoring faith in the competitive exam process, while the educational community grapples with the broader implications of this scandal.


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