Russian hacker Mikhail Shargin allegedly aided cheating by 820 students — much more than the initial estimates — by manipulating the online system in last year’s JEE-Mains, the entrance exam for admission to India’s top engineering colleges such as the IITs.
The CBI said this today in a Delhi court that gave it two-day custody of the 25-year-old.
The exam — taken by over 9 lakh students last September — is held only on control-restricted computers at designated centres. Mikhail Shargin hacked into the system so that students could grant “remote access” to his associates, who then solved the question papers on computers elsewhere, says the probe.
Simply put, “teachers” or “coaches” outside the centres were able to take charge of the students’ computers and solve the questions.
So far, 24 people have been arrested.
Mr Shargin was arrested yesterday after he landed from Kazakhstan. He has not been cooperating with the investigators, the CBI told the court today. “He is a professional hacker, and broke into iLeon software,” the agency said.
The software was provided by world-renowned Tata Consultancy Services or TCS.
Mr Shargin told the court that if the CBI wanted to access his electronic devices, it should be in his presence. The CBI asked the court to direct him to share his usernames and passwords.
The probe so far says the “remote access” was provided from an exam centre in Sonepat, Haryana. Initially, 20 students were believed to have cheated and were, therefore, banned from taking the exam for the next three years.
A case was registered by the CBI, which conducted raids in several cities and seized laptops and other equipment. That led to Mikhail Shargin, and the net has since widened. The scam involves several foreign nationals, sources have said.