Updated: March 7, 2021 11:41:17 pm
IN a major breakthrough in the probe into the paper leak in the Army recruitment process, a serving officer of Major rank — currently posted at a defence establishment in Tamil Nadu — was arrested on Saturday, after the ongoing joint probe by Pune City Police and Military Intelligence revealed his key role in the racket.
The Army Major was placed under arrest and brought to Pune for further investigation. Pune Police Commissioner Amitabh Gupta confirmed that an officer of Major rank has been arrested from Tamil Nadu. Calling it a “big breakthrough” in the case, Gupta also confirmed that this was the 10th arrest in the two cases combined.
In a joint operation by Southern Command Liaison Unit of the Military Intelligence and the Crime Branch of Pune City Police, multiple raids were conducted in the last week of February, leading to the recovery of the question paper of the Common Entrance Exam for recruitment of Soldier (General Duty) prior to the exam, indicating a leak. The exam, which was scheduled to take place on February 28, was cancelled after the leak was confirmed.
After the leak came to light, Pune Police had registered two separate offences at Wanawadi and Vishrantwadi police stations, denoting probes by two separate teams of the Crime Branch into malpractices related to the same examination process. In the case registered at Vishrantwadi police station, three persons, including an ex-serviceman, have been arrested. In the case at Wanawadi police station, two serving Army personnel and two others were initially arrested. Two more persons were arrested at a later stage, taking the total number of arrests in the case to nine till Friday.
Sources told The Indian Express that the Major, the 10th person arrested in the case, will be questioned jointly by the police and Army officials and the officer is believed to have played a key role in the conspiracy.
Meanwhile, 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.
The joint probe by Pune Police and Military Intelligence till now has revealed the suspects in the case made use of the loopholes in the system and managed to leak the paper. The probe is also looking at whether the same set of suspects had leaked the paper in the recruitment process in the past too. Another focus area of the probe is the role played by people linked to private coaching institutions, which train aspirants for these recruitment processes.
Multiple recent cases have shown that these coaching classes were used by racketeers to tap the aspirants who could be lured into paying large sums of money to get recruited into the armed forces.
A statement from the Indian Army, issued earlier this week, had said, “In pursuance of the Indian Army’s resolve to ensure transparency and eliminate corrupt practices in recruitment, Indian Army and Maharashtra State Police are jointly investigating the recent case of leakage of question paper….The findings of the inquiry will be incorporated in the existing system of recruitment process to make it more foolproof and robust.”
The Army is also planning to conduct an internal inquiry following the completion of the ongoing probe by police in tandem with the Military Intelligence. The internal inquiry will try to ascertain possible procedural lapses that might have caused or aided the alleged paper leak.
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