MORE CASES of dummy candidates appearing for the government recruitment process have surfaced, this time in the Maharashtra Public Service Commission (MPSC) exams conducted in Mumbai and Satara, among other places across the state. MPSC officials have, so far, registered three such cases. Officials said the racket goes way deeper than what is known and may have a larger expanse than a statewide racket, currently being probed by the Criminal Investigation Department (CID).
In January, a team from Byculla police station in Mumbai arrested two sales tax inspectors — Sachin Narale (35) and Sandeep Bhusare (32) — who allegedly appeared as dummy candidates in an MPSC exam for the tax assistant’s post. In the subsequent investigation, police arrested the two candidates, for whom Narale and Bhusare were appearing, and the alleged kingpin of the racket, identified as Narsappa Birajdar from Latur. Birajdar was then a talathi, an official at the village-level Revenue Department. Police also arrested one Govind Chembole (28), who was recruited as a tax assistant allegedly through this racket.
A senior officer of the Mumbai Police said, “While a CID probe into the statewide racket has begun, these instances probed by the Byculla police seem to be an offshoot. One of the accused had named Birajdar in the statement he gave to the CID. Primary information suggests that Birajdar used to work for Prabodh Rathod, the kingpin of the racket being probed by the CID. Later, he started running a separate racket. We have reasons to believe that this racket runs much deeper in terms of number of candidates selected and is more widely spread.”
The cases that are surfacing now took place from 2016 to 2018, as against those from the first racket that happened between 2009 and 2015. Sunil Awatade, deputy secretary with the MPSC, said, “Till now, we have registered three separate FIRs — first in Byculla in Mumbai, then Satara and the third one was registered on Tuesday at the Marine Drive police station. Further probe is on. As and when it is ascertained that dummy candidates had appeared in certain exams, FIRs will be registered.”
A Special Investigation Team (SIT) of the CID, which is probing the racket, has verified the identities of 49 such employees, now posted across Maharashtra, who have got government jobs after dummy candidates appeared for them in the exams. Of these, 15 were arrested on March 6. A 27-year-old political science graduate, Yogesh Jadhav from Nanded, had first unearthed the series of impersonation cases by filing several Right to Information (RTI) applications, which had led to the statewide probe by the CID.