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Rags to riches story of Ranjit Don

November 27, 2003 20:17 IST

From a timid village school boy to the man who has almost destroyed the credibility of India's premier institutions of management studies -- it is a rags-to-riches story of Ranjit Singh, alias Ranjit Don.

Born in a family owning a small piece of land at Khaddi Lodhipur in Hilsa block of Bihar's Nalanda district, Ranjit is a hero in his village.

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Though Ranjit's affluence attained through dubious means has changed nothing in the nondescript village -- no tarred roads, no electricity, no tap water -- people here are full of gratitude for him.

''We owe a lot to Ranjit who gave employment to hundreds of youths of Patna and Nalanda districts,'' says sexagenarian Deo Nandan Pandit as others gathered around him nod in approval.

''Woh hamare hero hain. CBI ne unko phansaya hai (He is our hero. CBI has framed him ),'' adds Sanjay, a college boy.

However, Ranjit's aunt, Malti Devi, is not impressed by all this. She says Rajnit did practically nothing for the village or his poor relatives. ''Paisa tha lekin gaon aur rishtedaron ke liye kya kiye? she asks Sanjay.

Ranjit was arrested with his accomplices in Delhi on Sunday when they were allegedly leaking question papers of the Common Admission Test for management institutes.

The headmaster of Rambabu High School, O P Singh, remembers Ranjit as a student who was average in studies.
Kankunwar Devi, Ranjit's grandmother, says her three sons -- Shyam Sunder Prasad, Rajendra Prasad and Rakesh Prasad -- divided the land they had inherited from their father, Laxman Mahto, after his death 14 years ago.

She says that Ranjit, son of Shyam Sunder, who shifted to Patna after the division, was very hardworking and through his "grit and commitment" completed his medical education from the Darbhanga Medical College and Hospital. ''I don't know what he was doing in Mumbai as he used to come to Khaddi Lodhipur very rarely,'' she said when informed that he was arrested in connection with the CAT paper leak.

Leela, Ranjit's sister-in law, who lives in his marble-tiled house equipped with several generator sets at Hilsa, expressed shock at the arrest of her brother-in-law. ''He can do no wrong,'' she said. 

She alleged that Ranjit was falsely implicated in the case after he floated Magadh Vikas Manch, a voluntary organisation, and planned to contest the next Lok Sabha election from Nalanda against Defence Minister George Fernandes.
Similar views were expressed by Ranjit's in-laws, Brijnandan Mahto and Bachi Devi, at Kathauli village, also in Nalanda district. "The CBI has played into the hands of top politicians who felt threatened by the growing popularity of
Ranjit," Brijnandan Mahto said.

Nine months back, when Ranjit married Deepika in a posh Patna hotel, Ranjit's brother Shravan and sister Sulochana, students of Patna Medical College and Hospital, invited all those who studied in the college between 1993 and 2002.

Eminent urologist and former chief of Bihar unit of the Indian Medical Association, Ajay Kumar, said he did not know Ranjit or any of his doctor colleagues arrested by the CBI in the CAT case. "As far as I know, they were not members of the IMA or practicing doctors,'' he said.


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