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Monday, June 14, 2021

Pune: Lieutenant Colonel arrested in Army soldier recruitment paper leak case

A serving Army officer of Lieutenant Colonel rank has been arrested in connection with the soldier recruitment paper leak case, which had come to light in the last week of February and has till now led to close to a dozen arrests, including of serving Army officers and personnel.

Written by Sushant Kulkarni | Pune |
May 18, 2021 12:07:55 am
The Crime Branch of Pune City police is currently investigating the case, for which a Special Investigation Team (SIT) has been set up.

A serving Army officer of Lieutenant Colonel rank has been arrested in connection with the soldier recruitment paper leak case, which had come to light in the last week of February and has till now led to close to a dozen arrests, including of serving Army officers and personnel.

The Crime Branch of Pune City police is currently investigating the case, for which a Special Investigation Team (SIT) has been set up.

On February 28, the Army was to conduct a pan-India Common Entrance Exam (CEE) for recruitment of Soldiers (General Duty). This particular process was referred to as ‘relation recruitment’ as this drive was for those who have immediate relatives in the Army. The written exam was to be conducted at 40 exam centres across India and nearly 30,000 aspirants were to appear for it. After receiving a tip-off about a paper leak, officials from Military Intelligence of the Army conducted a joint operation with Pune police and seized ‘leaked’ question papers. The primary probe revealed that the suspected leaked paper was a 100 per cent match to the original question paper, following which the Army cancelled the entire process.

The latest of the arrests by the Crime Branch of Pune Police on Monday is of a serving Lieutenant Colonel from an establishment in Secunderabad, who allegedly played a key role in the process of printing the paper for the recruitment process. The probe has established the links of the Lt Col with suspects already arrested in the case, said sources.

Speaking to The Indian Express, Pune City Police Commissioner Amitabh Gupta confirmed that the Lieutenant Colonel from Secunderabad-based establishment has been placed under arrest.

The officer will be produced before a court on Tuesday, where police will seek his custodial remand for further probe, an official said. As part of the probe, police have already arrested two officers of Major rank, one serving soldier and four ex-servicemen and other civilians. Police are also probing the role of a clerk who was part of the recruitment process at a different location in the country.

After the leak, the Pune police had registered two separate offences at Wanawadi and Vishrantwadi police stations in Pune city, denoting probes by two separate teams of the Crime Branch into the paper leak.

Days after the leak came to light, the Indian Army had said that the existing system of recruitment process will be made more foolproof and robust by incorporating the findings of the joint investigation by Army authorities and Maharashtra Police.

An Indian Army statement had stated, “In pursuance of Indian Army’s resolve to ensure transparency and eliminate corrupt practices in recruitment, Indian Army and Maharashtra Police are jointly investigating the recent case of leakage of question paper for Common Entrance Examination for recruitment of Soldiers (General Duty). The findings of the inquiry will be incorporated in the existing system of recruitment process to make it more foolproof and robust. Due process of law will be followed to proceed against persons who may have violated the standard operating procedures for conduct of such examinations.”

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