Updated: March 9, 2021 12:11:31 am
The Army officer of Major rank, who was arrested last week in the soldier recruitment process paper leak case, had sent the question paper from his phone to the other arrested accused on WhatsApp, Pune City Police told a court on Monday. The Army officer later deleted the chat, said police.
The officer, Major Thiru Murugan Thangavelu (47), was serving at an Army establishment in Tamil Nadu before his arrest. He was remanded to police custody of eight days by the court.
Assistant Commissioner of Police Laxman Borate earlier produced the arrested officer before the court and sought his custodial remand for further interrogation. The police told the court, through prosecution lawyer Premkumar Agarwal, that the arrested officer “sent the question paper to other arrested accused Bharat Adakmol. Adakmol and Thangavelu later deleted the chats”.
Custodial remand of the officer was sought for reasons quoted in the remand application by the police. “We want to investigate how the officer got hold of the question paper. It has to be investigated whether the said paper was sent to any more persons and what were money transactions between Adakmol and Thangavelu,” said police.
On Saturday, a Pune Police team had brought Major Thangavelu to the city from the Army establishment in Tamil Nadu where he was posted. He was later formally placed under arrest, and produced before the court of Additional Sessions Judge SR Navandar, which has jurisdiction over anti-corruption cases.
Police have invoked the Prevention of Corruption Act, leading to transfer of the case to the court for anti-corruption cases. Thangavelu’s defence counsel, RA Lonandkar, opposed the plea for custodial remand, saying it was not necessary because the phones of the said accused had already been seized. Judge S R Navandar, however, remanded Major Thangavelu to police custody of eight days till March 15 after hearing both sides of the argument.
Meanwhile, a senior officer who is part of the investigation said the role of two more “serving individuals” from the Army was being probed in the case. “Our teams are currently at various locations conducting their probe. We are expecting more breakthroughs in the case,” he said.
In a joint operation by the Military Intelligence and the Crime Branch of Pune City Police, multiple raids were conducted in the last week of February, leading to recovery of the question paper of the Common Entrance Exam (CEE) 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.
The Indian Army had earlier 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.
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