Investigation into the Army recruitment scam has revealed that the Junior Commissioned Officer (JCO) of Subedar rank, arrested for allegedly cheating hundreds of youths in Jalgaon and Nashik, had done so to pay back several youths he had allegedly cheated in Punjab and Rajasthan in a similar manner a few years ago.
On Sunday, the Jalgaon Police had arrested JCO Hasanoddin Shaikh, who belongs to the Corps of Engineers of the Indian Army. Shaikh had allegedly promised Army jobs to hundreds of youths, in exchange of large sums of money, and handed over fake recruitment papers to them.
At least 260 young job aspirants had been allegedly duped by Shaikh to the tune of over Rs 7 crore.
“On Wednesday, when Shaikh’s police remand got over, he was produced before the magistrate court in Jalgaon, which extended his remand till March 8,” said Prashant Bachhav, additional superintendent of police, Jalgaon.
A police officer said, “Our probe and the custodial interrogation of Shaikh has revealed that in 2012-13, Shaikh, along with some serving Army officials, cheated a large number of youths from Punjab, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh… in the same way, by giving them fake recruitment letters. However, the racket came to light and the Army instituted an inquiry. One of the officials involved in that racket was posted in Pune and is now retired. The money they earned with the racket was kept with another Army official, who allegedly committed suicide after the inquiry was launched. The inquiry found the people guilty and Shaikh was punished… his promotion was stopped…”
“The reason why Shaikh again started conning youths, this time in Maharashtra, was to pay back the youths whom he had cheated in the earlier scam. While the money kept with the officer was lost, the youths cheated earlier had started demanding their money back. The plan was to pay back the money and he had started doing that,” added the officer.
While Shaikh was posted in Tawang, he often visited Pune, said police. The racket was brought to light after some of the youths approached police with complaints.
Police are also looking for a Pune resident who, they suspect, supplied the forged letters to Shaikh. They will also investigate the kind of forgery the suspect in Pune was involved in and if he had access to any actual recruitment papers or letterheads.