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Paper leak case: Army planning to conduct inquiry following police investigation, say sources

When the police probe into the paper draws its preliminary conclusions, the Army is planning to launch an internal inquiry, sources told Express.

Written by Sushant Kulkarni | Pune |
March 3, 2021 1:31:18 am
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FOLLOWING completion of the ongoing probe by police in tandem with Military Intelligence, the Army is planning to conduct an internal inquiry into the paper leak in the soldier recruitment process, sources have told The Indian Express.

Sources in the Army have said that currently, the ongoing investigation by the Pune City Police was not just being closely monitored but also being actively supported by the Army establishment. When the police probe into the paper draws its preliminary conclusions, the Army is planning to launch an internal inquiry, sources told Express.

The inquiry will try to ascertain possible procedural lapses that might have caused or aided the alleged paper leak.

The joint probe by the police and military intelligence and Pune City Police till now points to striking commonalities with past cases of malpractices in defence recruitment — desperate youth aspiring for defence jobs ready to pay money, role of insiders, either serving or retired, and a nexus of touts and coaching centre operators aiding these rackets.

In the past, joint operations by the Military Intelligence have revealed various modus operandi of malpractices in the recruitment process. In February 2017, a similar paper leak in the Army recruitment examination had led to cancellation of the exam process. The case had led to arrests of serving army personnel as well.

In February 2018, Jalgaon Police had arrested a then serving junior commissioned officer of Subedar rank from the Army, who had allegedly cheated hundreds of youths from Jalgaon and Nashik districts by luring them with offers of jobs in the Army and handing over fake recruitment papers in return of money.

In February 2019, in a joint action of MI and the Kolhapur Police, a labour contractor was arrested for allegedly running a recruitment racket for civilian posts in various defence organisations by giving forged appointment letters. Probe had revealed that the suspects were running the racket for over 10 months and had duped many youths to the tune of over Rs 5 lakh each.

Between March and September 2019, Military Intelligence and Satara Police arrested an owner of a private coaching centre, two local agents and three serving jawans, who were actively involved in a scam that ran between early 2017 to late 2018, where the racketeers handed fake recruitment letters.

In January 2020, A racket of selling fake question papers of the Common Entrance Examination (CEE) for the Army recruitment in Kolhapur was busted by MI and police from Kolhapur and Pune.

Investigators said while the way the aspirants were cheated have changed from racket to racket, there are striking similarities in the way they operate.

A police officer who had probed the paper leak case in 2017 said, “In addition to the tradition of Army service in many villages of Maharashtra, these jobs attract a lot of aspirants… with ever-reducing land holdings, youth from farmer families look at these jobs as steady employment opportunities with a guarantee of pension. While most youth honestly prepare for the Army recruitment exam for soldiers, a chunk of them don’t hesitate to explore illegal ways. Private coaching classes, in collusion with serving or retired Army personnel and local agents, target these aspiring youths.”

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