Russian ‘hacker’ who manipulated JEE last year gets bail

NEW DELHI: A special court has granted bail to Russian national Mikhail Shargen, who was arrested by the CBI for allegedly hacking the JEE examination software which had benefitted over 800 aspirants, officials said Wednesday.
Shargen, 25, who was arrested on October 3, had allegedly tampered with the iLeon software, the platform on which the JEE (Main)-2021 examination was conducted and also helped other accused in hacking the computer systems of suspect candidates during the examination, they said.
The special CBI court took note of the fact that all other co-accused in the case were granted bail, including those who directly got in touch with the candidates and their parents to obtain money and documents among others, the officials said.
The arguments of the CBI that Shargen’s role was not at par with other accused as he was instrumental in hacking the software was rejected by the court.
The special court also did not find weight in the CBI’s argument that certain mobile chats of the accused and applicant with co-accused have been recovered during the investigation.
“Merely because the applicant is a foreign national, he cannot be denied the benefit of bail, more particularly when his passport has already been seized by the investigating agency,” the special court recently said while allowing the bail application.
The court allowed Shargen to be released on a personal surety of Rs one lakh and with bail conditions.
Shargen was arrested on October 3 upon arrival at the Indira Gandhi International Airport from Almaty, Kazakhstan.
In September last year, the agency had booked Affinity Education Pvt Ltd and its three directors Siddharth Krishna, Vishwambhar Mani Tripathi and Govind Varshney, besides other touts and associates for alleged manipulation of the examination.
It was alleged that the three directors, in conspiracy with other associates and touts, were manipulating the online examination of JEE (Mains) and facilitating aspiring students to get admission in top National Institutes of Technology in exchange for huge amounts of money. They used to solve the questions through remote access from a chosen examination centre in Sonepat (Haryana).
“It was also alleged that the accused used to obtain Classes 10 and 12 mark sheets, user IDs, passwords, and post-dated cheques of aspiring students in different parts of the country as security and once admission was done, they used to collect heavy amount ranging from 12-15 lakh (approx) per candidate,” the CBI had said.