Govt. diverting issue to protect kingpin, says Tejashwi on NEET paper leak

After Bihar Deputy Chief Minister says Tejashwi Yadav’s personal secretary booked a guest house for one of the accused, the RJD leader tells the government to question his aide

Updated - June 21, 2024 07:55 pm IST

Published - June 21, 2024 03:18 pm IST - Patna

All India Student Association (AISA) burn an effigy during their protest against Union Education Minister Dharmendra Pradhan over the NEET UG entrance exam paper leak issue, in Patna on June 20, 2024.

All India Student Association (AISA) burn an effigy during their protest against Union Education Minister Dharmendra Pradhan over the NEET UG entrance exam paper leak issue, in Patna on June 20, 2024. | Photo Credit: ANI

A day after Bihar Deputy Chief Minister Vijay Kumar Sinha accused Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) leader Tejashwi Yadav’s private secretary of being involved in the NEET paper leak case, Mr. Yadav on June 21 said attempts were being made to “divert the issue” to “protect the kingpin”.

On June 20, Mr. Sinha said Pritam Kumar, Mr. Yadav’s aide, had booked the government guest house for Sikandar Prasad Yadavendu, an accused in the case. One of the arrested students, Anurag Yadav, has said in his statement to the police that Mr. Yadavendu dropped him at the place of Amit Anand and Nitish Kumar where he was given the NEET question paper and answer sheet.

“If the government has any doubts, then call my private secretary and question him. Take action against whoever is guilty. I will ask the Chief Minister to arrest whoever is guilty. On the claim made by the Deputy CM, I am wondering why the Economic Offences Unit, which is investigating the case, has not issued any such statements,” Mr. Yadav said.

“The engineer who has been arrested may be a beneficiary, but the mastermind is Amit Anand and Nitesh Kumar. This government is making an attempt to divert the issue. Why does it want to protect the kingpin,” he asked.

The RJD also hit back at the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) by releasing an old photo of Mr. Anand along with Deputy Chief Minister Samrat Choudhary. “The main accused in the NEET exam paper leak scam is the Deputy Chief Minister of Bihar. The so-called powerful minister who was felicitated by the accused has deleted all his photos with him from his social media handles but don’t worry we have them all. Send this to your worried counterpart the other deputy CM,” the RJD wrote on its X handle on June 21.

Mr. Yadavendu, a junior engineer in the Danapur Municipal Corporation, has said in his statement that he procured the question papers and answer sheets for four candidates and took the aspirants to Mr. Anand and Mr. Nitish. He told police that he had asked ₹40 lakh from each candidate and had settled the deal at ₹32 lakh.

Also read | NEET row: Supreme Court to examine pleas for independent panel inquiry

Mr. Yadav, a former Deputy Chief Minister, said those dragging his name into the issue “will not get anything”.

“In the coming days, everything will be clear. Those who are trying to drag my name and my PS’s name will not get anything. They will not achieve anything. People of this country know it very well that whenever the BJP forms the government at the Centre, a paper leak happens,” Mr. Yadav said.

The RJD leader blamed Prime Minister Narendra Modi for the paper leak and said exam papers are leaked in BJP-ruled States. He demanded cancellation of NEET.

In a related development, the Patna civil court on June 21 did not grant any relief to the four people arrested in the case and scheduled its next hearing on June 25. So far, the Shastri Nagar police have arrested 13 people of whom four are students.

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