New Delhi (PTI): At least 20 candidates have been debarred from appearing for Joint Entrance Exam (JEE)-Main for a period of three years for using "unfair means" in the examination, the National Testing Agency (NTA) said on Wednesday.

The decision by the NTA comes amid an ongoing Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) investigation into the alleged manipulation of fourth edition of JEE-Main, conducted from August 26 to September 2.

"On account of using 'unfair means', 20 candidates have been debarred from appearing in future examinations for a period of three years. Their results have also been withheld," the said in a statement announcing the result.

The agency did not comment on whether debarring of these students had any connection with the ongoing investigation.

A record 44 candidates have scored 100 percentile in the engineering entrance exam JEE-Main this year while 18 candidates have shared the top rank.

Last year, 24 candidates had scored 100 percentile.

Starting this year, JEE-Main was conducted four times a year to offer flexibility to students and a chance to improve their scores.

Over 9.34 lakh candidates appeared in four editions of JEE-Main. A total of 2.52 lakh common candidates had appeared for all four editions of the exam.

A total of 6.58 lakh male candidates had appeared for the exam while the number of female candidates appearing for the exam was 2.80 lakh.

The ranks of the candidates have been released taking into consideration the best of the four NTA scores in accordance with the policy already made.

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Chandigarh, Sep 20: Congress leader Sunil Jakhar on Monday questioned AICC general secretary Harish Rawat's reported statement that the upcoming state elections would be fought under the leadership of Punjab Congress chief Navjot Singh Sidhu.

Jakhar, who is also the former Punjab Congress chief, dubbed Rawat's statement as baffling, saying it is likely to undermine the authority of the chief minister.

On the swearing-in day of Sh @Charnjit_channi as Chief Minister, Mr Rawats's statement that 'elections will be fought under Sidhu', is baffling. It's likely to undermine CM's authority but also negate the very 'raison d' tre' of his selection for this position, said Jakhar in a tweet.

Rawat had reportedly said that the Punjab Assembly polls next year will be fought under Sidhu.

Jakhar was one of the frontrunners for the post of new Congress Legislative Party leader after Amarinder Singh was nudged into quitting ostensibly over his failure to fulfil the promises made by the party in the 2017 assembly polls.

However, the Congress finally picked Channi for the post and it was learnt that Sidhu backed it.

Reacting to Jakhar's tweet, BJP leader Amit Malviya called it as huge insult to the Dalit community.

This is a huge insult to the entire Dalit community if Charanjit Singh Channi has been made the CM, only to hold the seat for Navjot Singh Sidhu, the chosen Gandhi family loyalist. This completely undermines the Dalit empowerment narrative being peddled by the Congress. Shame, said Malviya in a tweet.