CUSTODIAL interrogation of 15 government employees who were recruited through what came to be known as a state-wide dummy candidate racket has revealed that some of those appointed did not even fill up application forms and were directly handed over appointment letters in return of money.
A Special Investigation Team (SIT) of the state Criminal Investigation Department (CID) that is probing the racket has till now verified the identities of 49 in-service employees, now posted across Maharashtra, who have got government jobs after dummy candidates appeared for them in exams.
Fifteen such employees were arrested on March 6. On Monday, the five-day police custody of the 15 government servants ended and they were again produced in a court in Nanded. The court extended their custody by three more days after hearing the arguments of the prosecution.
“In the court, the 15 government servants admitted that they had been recruited after dummies appeared for them in the exams. Some of them have said that they did not even fill up the application forms of the respective recruiting bodies and were given appointment letters of the government offices in return of money. This suggests that the racketeers had a very elaborate system in place,” said a police officer.
“The court was told that there needs to be more investigation into how these candidates were approached back then and the sequence of events till the time they were given appointment letters. The probe will also look at how individual exam systems were rigged to make a dummy candidate appear undetected,”
Among those arrested are clerks, statistical officers, social welfare officers and animal husbandry officers from across the state, including three from Pune.
Before the arrest of the 15 serving government employees, the SIT had arrested 10 persons who ran the racket, including the kingpin, Prabodh Rathod, a dismissed government employee from Nanded. Along with Rathod, the impersonators, including two then serving police officers of assistant inspector rank, a CID handwriting expert and a policeman who was part of the initial probe into the racket were also picked up.
The remaining government employees who have been identified are likely to be arrested soon, the police said.
A 27-year-old political science graduate, Yogesh Jadhav, from Nanded had unearthed the series of impersonation cases by filing several Right to Information (RTI) applications, which led to the statewide investigations by the CID SIT.