The topper of the Joint Entrance Exam (Mains) in Assam, his father and three others arrested for allegedly using a proxy to write the country's premier engineering entrance test have been sent to five days' police custody by the Guwahati Chief Judicial Megistrate Court on Thursday. They were arrested on Wednesday night.
The accused had scored 99.8 per cent in the exam, which is the basis for admission to India's top engineering colleges, including the prestigious IITs.
The candidate, Neel Nakshatra Das, his father Dr Jyotirmoy Das, and three employees of the centre where the exam was held - Hamendra Nath Sarma, Pranjal Kalita and Hirulal Pathak - have also been arrested.
They have been charged under relevant sections of the Indian Penal Code for criminal conspiracy, unlawful assembly, cheating and criminal breach of trust and under the IT Act.
"On the day of the exam this candidate, with help of others, including some employees of e-com tower, where the exam was held, helped the proxy candidate write the exam for the topper. We are now looking for more people and looking at all angles. This was done with the help of insiders," said Guwahati Police commissioner MP Gupta.
One of the prime accused, Bhargav Deka of Global Edulight, an education consultancy firm in Guwahati that had allegedly engineered the deal between the the candidate's father and the proxy writer and set up the "links" with the staff of the test centre, is missing.
A police complaint in this regard was filed by one Mitra Dev Sarma last week after the recording of a phone call coversation and WhatsApp chat - in which the accused allegedly talks about having used unfair means to top the exam - surfaced on social media.
"As a citizen I was shocked and startled to know about this. It seems now whoever has money will have jobs, whoever can bribe can have engineering entrance seats. So I thought I should lodge a police complaint," Mitra Dev Sarma said.
The exam invigilator had allegedly helped the JEE aspirant cheat, the police said. The accused went inside the exam centre on the day of the exam only to fill in his name and roll number on the answer sheet, the police said, adding that the test was written by the proxy candidate outside.
The Assam Police have informed the National Testing Agency (NTA) about the incident.
A massive search operation has been launched to establish the credentials of the proxy candidate and to locate Bhargav Deka, the police sources said.
The Test Centre, e-com tower, is a private facility of Mukund Infotech that has been leased out by TCS-iON, a subsidiary of the Tata Consultancy that was entrusted by the NTA to conduct the online exams.