THE Maharashtra state Criminal Investigation Department (CID), which is probing the state-wide dummy candidate racket and has till now booked as many 75 serving government employees who were allegedly recruited through the scam, is soon expected to write to the state government asking to take appropriate action against them.
A Special Investigation Team (SIT) of the Criminal Investigation Department is currently probing the scam.
It has in the past arrested 10 persons who allegedly ran the racket.
The arrested racketeers include the kingpin Prabodh Rathod, who is a dismissed government employee from Nanded and impersonators, including two then serving police officers of assistant inspector rank, a Criminal Investigation Department handwriting expert and a cop, who was part of the initial probe of the racket.
The Special Investigation Team has till now filed three chargesheets in the case. It is likely to make more arrests of serving government officials in the coming days.
Other than the 10 racketeers, the Criminal Investigation Department has till now arrested 23 serving government servants, allegedly recruited through the racket.
All the 75 government employees identified in the probe till June this year, were recruited through the racket between 2010 and 2016.
The Special Investigation Team is probing the recruitments done through the racket between these years.
The arrested serving officials include education officers, tribal development officers, clerks, engineering officers, irrigation inspectors, desk officers from state secretariat.
The Special Investigation Team was being headed by Superintendent of Police Shankar Kengar, who retired from the police service around July. The SIT is now been headed by Superintendent of Police Lata Phad.
A Criminal Investigation Department official, on the condition of anonymity, said, “Till now one chargesheet and two supplementary chargesheets have been filed in the case. After the change of guard in the SIT, efforts are being made to take forward the paper work regarding all the accused government servants, who have already been identified. The process will include preparing a set of documents for each of them.”
He said, “In the past, one letter has been written to the government and queries have been put up about some of these people. Now, soon one comprehensive communication will be sent to the government pushing for appropriate action against these people, who are still serving in various departments across the state. While the final decision lies with the government, it will be recommended that these people are dismissed from the service. After that, further probe will continue into identification of more beneficiaries of the racket and collect evidences about them.”
A 28-year-old political science graduate Yogesh Jadhav from Nanded, had first unearthed the series of impersonation cases between 2010 and 2016, by filing several Right to Information (RTI) applications, which led to this statewide probe by the CID SIT.
He had started digging into these cases, when he had got to know that several persons from his region had sold or mortgaged their ancestral land or houses to pay a middleman for their selection into government jobs for positions.
The total number of arrests made by the SIT in this case is now 33 including 10 racketeers and 23 officials selected through the scam.
However, the total number instances in which dummy candidates are suspected to have appeared for exams in that period is close to 700, according to a primary estimate of the investigators.
The chargesheets filed by the SIT, reveal how racketeers had bribed Anti Corruption Bureau (ACB) officials to avoid inquiry and even went on to bribe CID handwriting experts to mislead the probe even after the police investigations began into the racket.
In April last year, the state government had formed the SIT after a direct intervention from Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis and it was given the mandate to probe into cases of dummy candidates including many in Pune.
Several recruitments in departments like police, social welfare, government secretariat, agriculture and women and child development, have been under SIT scanner.
Behind each selected candidates, the racketeers were paid anywhere between five to 10 lakh and a significant chunk of the money went to the impersonators.