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Army recruitment: 2 more arrested; joint probe reveals how question paper was leaked using loopholes

Pune Police Commissioner Amitabh Gupta on Wednesday said two more persons have been arrested, taking the total number of arrests in the case to nin

Written by Sushant Kulkarni | Pune |
March 4, 2021 12:29:29 am
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Pune City Police have arrested two more persons in connection with the Army recruitment exam paper leak, taking the total number of arrests to nine in two separate cases. The coordinated probe by police and Military Intelligence has also brought to light how exactly the paper was leaked using loopholes in the system, officials have told The Indian Express.

In a joint operation by Southern Command Liaison Unit of Military Intelligence and the Crime Branch of Pune City Police, multiple raids were conducted leading to recovery of the question paper of the Common Entrance Exam (CEE) for recruitment of Soldier (General Duty) prior to the exam, indicating a leak. Pune Police registered two separate offences at Wanawadi and Vishrantwadi police stations, denoting actions by two separate teams of the Crime Branch into the same examination process.

In the case registered at Vishrantwadi police station, three persons, including an ex-serviceman, were arrested. In the case at Wanawadi police station, two serving Army personnel and two others were arrested, taking the number of arrests till Tuesday to seven.

Pune Police Commissioner Amitabh Gupta on Wednesday said two more persons have been arrested, taking the total number of arrests in the case to nine. He, however, refrained from giving details of the arrest, saying the probe was at a critical stage.

Sources have said that some senior officials of the Indian Army, connected to the soldier recruitment process, met top Pune police officials on Wednesday and held discussions about the ongoing probe and related issues. Police officials refused to give details of the meeting. Army officials had earlier said that because of the zero tolerance policy towards corrupt practices in recruitment, and considering the gravity of the case, the examination was cancelled once the paper leak was confirmed. A new date for the recruitment process will be announced later.

Meanwhile, a senior officer from Pune city, who is part of the probe, said the joint investigation by the Crime Branch and Military Intelligence has now brought to light the modus operandi of how the suspects leaked the paper using loopholes in the system, but refused to elaborate on it. “We are trying to ascertain the linkages between these suspects and what the distribution chain was… whether there are any more off-shoots of that… we don’t know of.” said the officer, adding that some of their teams were already working on two separate locations in India, where this racket had links.

“Arrests of more persons with inside knowledge, including serving personnel or ex-servicemen, cannot be ruled out,” he further said.

The Indian Express has learnt that one of the focuses of the investigation was to dig out the role played by people linked to by private coaching institutions, who help aspirants for these recruitment processes. Multiple recent cases have shown that these coaching classes were used by racketeers to tap the aspirants, who could be lured into paying large sums of money to get recruited into the armed forces.

The Army is also planning to conduct an internal inquiry, following the completion of the ongoing probe by police in tandem with the Military Intelligence, into the paper leak, as reported earlier by The Indian Express. The ongoing investigation is not just being closely monitored but also being actively supported by the Army establishment, officials said.

When the police probe into the paper draws preliminary conclusions, the Army is planning to launch an internal inquiry, said sources. The inquiry by the Army will try to ascertain possible procedural lapses that might have caused or aided the paper leak.

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