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Tutorial titan surrenders

New Delhi, Sept. 18: Sudhir Sachdeva, the owner of Sachdeva Private Tutorial College and a key accused in the CBSE pre-medical question paper leak, surrendered at a Delhi court today after evading arrest for months.

The wealthy owner of the coaching chain, which has centres all over the country including Calcutta, gave himself up before metropolitan magistrate Shahabuddin, two days after Delhi High Court rejected his anticipatory bail plea for the second time.

Sachdeva was remanded in police custody for two days after the investigating officer submitted that the accused needed to be taken to places like Mathura and Faridabad in connection with the investigation into the leak of the entrance test papers.

A compact disc containing the question paper also had to be recovered from him, the police said.

The paper leak was detected on April 9, the eve of the all-India exam, when the police raided an Ashok Nagar residence in east Delhi and arrested two persons in possession of the leaked papers. More than two lakh students across the country were left stranded following the leak.

According to the police, each paper was sold for Rs 6-8 lakh.

Sachdeva went into hiding after the crime branch arrested Hemant Sharma, a computer operator posted in the confidential section in the office of the CBSE's controller of examinations.

CBSE controller of examinations Pawnesh Kumar was also arrested, so was the manager of Sachdeva's institution, .K. Thaploo. The police allege that Thaploo purchased the question papers from Sharma.

Apart from striking a deal with Sachdeva for Rs 12 lakh, the police also suspect Sharma of having come to an understanding with Ranjeet Verma, one of the key accused, to provide physics, chemistry, botany and zoology papers for Rs 50 lakh.

Ranjeet, a fourth-year MBBS student at Nagpur Medical College, and his brother Satinder are among several people arrested in the case.

Sachdeva's surrender came after Delhi High Court rejected his plea for anticipatory bail for the second time. In June, the owner of the coaching chain had obtained a six-week anticipatory bail from Orissa High Court.

After expiry of the period, he approached Delhi High Court, but had to return empty-handed as his bail plea was dismissed on July 23. He again approached the court for anticipatory bail this week, but it was dismissed.

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