JEE Mains 2021 hacking case: Russian national's hacking of software helped over 800 students, CBI tells Delhi HC

Following his production in court, Shargin, who was described as a "professional hacker", was remanded to two-day CBI custody
Picture for representational purpose only | (Pic: Express)
Picture for representational purpose only | (Pic: Express)

As many as 820 students are said to have gained the benefits from the hacking of the iLeon software platform by the Russian national Mikhail Shargin, as stated in a report by The New Indian Express. This is the same software on which the Joint Entrance Examination (Mains) 2021 was conducted. This was informed by the Central Bureau of Investigation to the Delhi High Court on October 4, Tuesday. This came a day after the Russian national was arrested at IGI Airport.

CBI found that the number of students who took advantage of the hacking which helped them cheat in one of India's toughest exams is more than the number earlier estimated. The CBI found this during their investigation and interrogation of 25-year-old Shargin who was detained by sleuths soon after he alighted from a plane from Almaty, Kazakhstan, yesterday, October 4.

Here's what happened in court
Following his production in court, Shargin, who was described as a "professional hacker", was remanded to two-day CBI custody.

When Shargin informed the court that the central agency can access his electronic devices in his presence, the agency sought the court's direction for the Russian national to share his usernames and passwords.

The probe so far
According to the probe, Russian national Shargin was behind hacking into the iLeon software system, which helped JEE (Mains) candidates in the year 2021 to grant "remote access" to the Russian's associates in India who then solved the test questions elsewhere. It may be recalled that it was on control-restricted computers at designated centres that 9,00,000 students took the exam last year.

Sources at CBI informed that "teachers" and "coaches" outside the test centres of JEE Mains 2021 were able to "take charge" of the aspirants' computers and solve the questions. Even as CBI sources revealed that the software was provided by Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), the agency's investigation has found that the "remote access" was provided from an examination centre at Sonepat in Haryana.

As of now, as many as 24 arrests have been made with regard to the same case.

It was in September 2021 that the matter came to light and three directors of Affinity Education plus other associates and touts were arrested by the central agency.

Raids were conducted in several cities and a number of laptops and other electronic devices and equipment were seized. At that time, 20 students who were suspected to have cheated, were barred from taking the JEE for the next three years.

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