Expanding its probe into the state-wide racket of dummy candidates appearing for government recruitment exams, the Special Investigation Team (SIT) of the Criminal Investigation Department has arrested a government officer. The officer allegedly appeared as a ‘dummy candidate’ in at least 10 government recruitment exams. Last week, in a major breakthrough, the SIT had arrested the alleged kingpin, Pramod Rathod (36), a suspended government employee from Mandvi village in Nanded district.
On Sunday, the SIT arrested Arvind Krushnarao Takalkar (43), a native of Jalna district who is currently posted as a desk officer at the Vasantrao Naik Marathwada Agriculture University in Parbhani. A desk officer is a Class II post in the Maharashtra government. These officers mainly handle the day-to-day administrative work of the offices they are posted in. Superintendent of Police Shankar Kengar, who is heading the SIT, told Pune Newsline, “As per our primary information, Takalkar has appeared for at least 10 persons as a dummy candidate in recruitment examinations… some of the candidates he appeared for were selected for the jobs and they are serving as officers. We will investigate their current status…”.
In April, the state government had formed the SIT after direct intervention by Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis. The SIT was given the mandate to probe almost 50 cases registered across Maharashtra, including 10 in Pune. As per the primary estimates, over 400 dummy candidates have appeared in government recruitment exams in the last two years. Several recruitments — in departments such as police, social welfare, government secretariat, agriculture and women and child development — are now under the SIT’s scanner.
On Takal’s alleged role in the racket, a police officer said, “This raises some questions. It is hard to believe that no one had any doubts about him… we know that Rathod and Takalkar met when they were preparing for government recruitment exams in the past. On Monday, we conducted searches at the properties of Rathod and Takalkar…,” added the officer. Takalkar was produced before the court, along with Rathod, and the duo have been remanded in police custody till June 3.