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Police sub-inspector recruitment exam scam: Senior IPS officer’s bail plea rejected

The sessions court also referred to a recent Karnataka High Court judgement, which called the police recruitment scam “an act of terror on society” while rejecting the bail claim of Amrit Paul, an IPS officer of the rank of Additional Director General of Police, who headed the police recruitment cell from 2019–2022.

The court stated that the officer had prima facie not carried out his responsibility. (Representative image)

A sessions court in Bengaluru on Tuesday rejected the bail plea of a senior IPS officer, who has been accused of involvement in a scam in the recruitment of 545 police sub-inspectors.

The court stated that the officer had prima facie not carried out his responsibility “for conducting a fair recruitment process for the selection of the Police Sub-Inspectors in Karnataka state, who are responsible for maintaining law and order in the state”.

The sessions court also referred to a recent Karnataka High Court judgement, which called the police recruitment scam “an act of terror on society” while rejecting the bail claim of Amrit Paul, an IPS officer of the rank of Additional Director General of Police, who headed the police recruitment cell from 2019–2022.

“It is a case of recruitment scam by manipulating the OMR sheets to deprive the deserving candidates who have honestly worked hard for the examination for selection. Therefore, it is a socio-economic offence which affects the moral fiber of the society,’” the sessions court said in its order.

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The CID unit of the Karnataka Police arrested the 56-year-old senior IPS officer on July 4 this year for allegedly facilitating a scam in a police sub-inspectors recruitment exam conducted in October 2021 to select 545 police sub-inspectors from a fray of 54,287 candidates.

As many as 30 candidates in Bengaluru are alleged to have paid between Rs 30 lakh to Rs 85 lakh to middlemen to be selected as police sub-inspectors by rigging their answer sheets in a written exam at the police recruitment cell.

Based on the statement given by a former deputy superintendent of police in the recruitment cell, Shantakumar, the CID alleged during court hearings that the IPS officer who headed the police recruitment cell received Rs five crore as kickbacks from the DSP for facilitating the scam.

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“It is alleged that accused No.31 Shantha Kumar who was working as Deputy Superintendent of Police in recruitment department has disclosed that this petitioner being the custodian of almirah in which kit boxes containing the OMR answer sheets, handed over the keys of the almirah to accused No. 31 to tamper the OMR answer sheets,” the sessions court noted in its order.

“Further it is alleged that accused No.35 has received a sum of Rs. 5 crores for the purpose of tampering the OMR answer sheets of the candidates who had appeared for the PSI recruitment examination,” the court added.

The advocates for the IPS officer had argued that the police official had not personally tampered with the OMR answer sheets of candidates and that he had no connection to the middle men in the case.

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The CID had found no evidence to show that OMR answer sheets were tampered by the IPS officer and no materials had been seized from the officer other than a mobile phone, it was argued on behalf of Paul.

The CID has alleged that the head of the police recruitment cell was party to the recruitment scam. The CID probe has found that staff at the recruitment cell accessed OMR answer scripts stored in a strong room in the cellar of the recruitment cell in the early hours of the day when no other staff was present in the cell or adjoining buildings.

They allegedly turned off the CCTV cameras and gained access to the strong room where they removed answer scripts of candidates who had paid a network of operators between Rs 30 lakh to Rs 85 lakh to score high marks.

The mostly blank OMR sheets of candidates who had paid bribes were filled up by the recruitment staff and their associates over several days in the early hours of the morning before other staff arrived for duty. The answer scripts were supposed to be under the custody of the ADGP – the head of the cell.

The exam scam surfaced after it was found that one of the selected candidates, Veeresh H, who obtained 121 marks in the exam had only answered questions for 31.5 marks (out of a total of 150 marks in the objective section).

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The Karnataka government annulled the results of the exam on April 29 after the CID reported large scale rigging of the results.

As many as nine candidates, who emerged in the top 10 list of rank winners for the PSI exam – when results were announced for the selection of 545 candidates in January 2022- have been arrested by the CID for gaining selection illegally by bribing officials of the police recruitment cell.

First published on: 16-08-2022 at 08:29:17 pm
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