Even as fresh links emerge in a statewide dummy candidates’ racket, currently being investigated by an SIT of the state Criminal Investigation Department (CID), officials probing into the case have questioned the inordinate delay by the government in initiating action against more than 75 serving government officials, who have been identified and booked in case. These officials were allegedly recruited through the racket between 2010 and 2016.
The CID, so far, has arrested 10 alleged racketeers and 23 serving government servants, reportedly recruited through the racket, in connection with the case. The arrested officials include education officers, tribal development officers, clerks, engineering officers, irrigation inspectors and desk officers from state secretariat.
A senior officer, associated with the investigation, said, “While the scope of the case is still expanding, the government has not initiated any action against those who have been recruited through the racket. Most of them remain in the service and may have even helped many more to get rid of the available evidences.”
Claiming that it could be one of the biggest scams in the government recruitment systems, the officer said: “I feel money worth multiple crore has exchanged hands between the candidates and racketeers in this case.”
Meanwhile, a fresh FIR has recently been registered at Shahupuri police station in connection with alleged involvement of the racket in a police recruitment examination held in Kolhapur in 2017.
The CID has also taken into custody a person, identified as Baliram Bhatlondhe, in connection with the dummy candidate racket scam — the case was registered at Deccan Gymkhana police station. Bhatlondhe, a clerk in the state secretariat, has allegedly appeared in at least 20 instances as a dummy candidate. He was earlier in custody in other cases related to the probe.
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 had led to a statewide probe by the CID SIT. Jadhav had started digging into these cases after he came to know that several persons from his region had sold or mortgaged their ancestral land or houses to pay a middleman for their selection in government jobs.
A primary estimate by the investigators had found that close to 700 dummy candidates had allegedly appeared for exams conducted during the period.