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CAT paper out of bag, examination cancelled

Four people ? three Patna-based doctors and a Mumbai-based business ? have been arrested.

india Updated: Nov 26, 2003 16:39 IST

The CBI has busted a racket in which question papers of the Common Admission Test (CAT) for entrance to premier management institutes, including the Indian Institutes of Management, were leaked. The examination, which was held nation-wide on Sunday and in which 1.57 lakh students appeared, has been cancelled.

Four people — three Patna-based doctors and the man who masterminded the racket — have been arrested. The kingpin, a businessman named Ranjit Singh alias Ranjit Don, had been running a pharmaceutical company, Randons, in Mumbai for the past few years.

Sources said the initial lead in the case came from the CBI’s Patna unit. Acting on a subsequent tip-off, the CBI raided Hotel Shanti Palace on the Delhi-Gurgaon road late on Saturday and recovered CAT question papers and answer sheets. Seven people — the four accused and three students — were detained.

On Sunday morning, CBI officials raided 8 of the 26 CAT examination centres in the Capital and compared the seized papers with the actual questions. Sources said all the 150 questions matched, following which the four main suspects were arrested. The three students, CBI officials said, had not been arrested as their role was still being ascertained.

Sources said the gang usually operated from small hotels and guest houses where students used to be provided the question papers and answer sheets a day in advance. “The students were kept locked in a hotel room the entire night before the exam so that the question papers were not passed on to others,” a source added.

Sources said it appeared that the CAT question papers were leaked from IBPS, the Mumbai-based agency which printed them. A CBI team has gone to Mumbai for investigations.

As of now the CBI has ruled out the involvement of any IIM faculty members in the racket. “Had the faculty been involved, the accused would have noted down some of the questions,” said an official. “But in this case they had the complete set of printed question papers which confirms the involvement of the printing press staff.”

Apart from CAT, the gang used to deal in leaking question papers of the CBSE Pre-Medical Test, Bank Probationary Officers Exam, All India Post Graduate Medical Exam, etc. The CBI is now trying to verify whether the accused had ever leaked the civil services question papers.

Initial investigations revealed that Ranjit Don operated through associates in Kolkata, Mumbai, Patna, Chennai, Ahmedabad and other cities. Raids are being conducted at several places in these cities.

Backdoor to B-school

Who did it?
Three Patna-based doctors and a Mumbai businessman, Ranjit Singh

How?
Students paid in lakhs and were kept locked in hotel rooms the night before the exam

First Published: Nov 24, 2003 00:00 IST