Pune: After Arrest of Lt Colonel And Jawan, Other Army Officers On Radar of CBI In Army Recruitment Scam

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Mubarak Ansari

Pune, 12th April 2022: Today the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) produced arrested Army officer Lt Colonel Vikash Raizada (40) and Sepoy Alok Kumar before the special court (CBI) in Pune and got their custody till April 16. Raizada had leaked answer keys to 44 questions before the exam. Another accused Havaldar Sushanta Naik is absconding in the case.

Investigating officer Additional SP Rajiv Kumar from CBI’s anti-corruption bureau (ACB) informed the court that there are sufficient evidences on record regarding the involvement of the arrested accused person Lt. Col. Vikash Raizada and Alok Kumar in the illegal activities in respect of the recruitment for Group C Civilian Posts at Central Ammunition Depot (CAD) Pulgaon and they remained un-cooperative during their interrogation and did not reveal the facts of the case.

“They are the main accused in this case. Therefore, in order to unearth the racket of Army recruitment, to ascertain the involvement of other suspect officers/middlemen and to know the other essential facts of the case including the financial transactions with the candidates, their custodial interrogation is required”, he submitted.

The agency informed the court that the scrutiny of WhatsApp chats of accused Havaldar Nahak with Lt Col Raizada, Sepoy Alok Kumar as well as other with other candidates/middlemen has revealed that these accused persons were actively involved in the racket of appointments as well as unit allotments in respect of the Army recruitment of the candidates in lieu of illegal gratification. Their bank account statements reveal that they received various amounts mostly through UPI. The scrutiny of call details record (CDR) reveals that they were in contact with the other candidates/middlemen during the examination period.

After hearing from the CBI, the accused and their lawyer, Special Judge Girish Bhalchandra remanded them to CBI custody till April 16. “For the purpose of effective investigation and considering the gravity of the offence in question, their custody with CBI is justifiable”, the judge stated in the custody order.

According to the CBI, the present case was registered on 18.12.2021 as an offshoot of an earlier trap case. Accused Sushanta Nahak, his Controlling Officer Lt Col Vikash Raizada, ADOS and Sepoy Alok Kumar, all from Army Ordnance Corps (AOC) of the Southern Command, Pune, are involved in illegal activities in the Army recruitment process for the selection of various Group-C Civilian posts ie Junior Office Assistant (JAO), Fireman. Tradesman M and Tailor at CAD, Pulgaon through examination held during 2021.

Accused Lt Vikas Raizada had sent answer keys of the question papers to accused Havaldar Nahak on the mobile number of his wife through WhatsApp, in the morning on 08.09 2021, before the start of the written examination on the same day at CAD Pulgaon. Thereafter, accused Nahak further forwarded the said answer keys immediately on the same day through Whatsapp to the mobile number of accused Priyanka (wife of accused Sepoy Alok Kumar) who was appearing in the said recruitment examination for the post of a tailor. A day before the exam, two different amounts Rs 50,000 and Rs 40,000 were sent from the bank account of accused Priyanka through UPI to accused  Nahak. Mobile chats also reveal that accused persons ie Lt Col Raizada, Havaldar Nahak, Sepoy Alok Kumar and his wife Priyanka are involved in illegal activities in connection with the recruitment process of 2020-21 to various Group-C Civilian posts including leaking the answer keys to the candidates and obtain, undue advantages from them.

CBI submitted to the court that during the investigation of the initially registered trap case, the Whatsapp chats of accused Nahak and other accused persons had been retrieved from their mobile phones by the Directorate of Forensic Science. Gandhinagar. The Whatsapp chats of accused Sushant Nahak with his controlling officer accused Lt Col. Vikash Raizada and also with the accused Sepoy Alok Kumar and his wife Priyanka revealed that she appeared in the written examination conducted on 08.092021 at CAD, Pulgaon for the recruitment for the post of a tailor. In connection with the said written examination, Lt. Col. Raizada, who was deputed as an independent observer for conducting the said examination at CAD, Pulgaon, sent the answer keys of 44 questions in the morning of 08.09.2021. i.e. day of examination through Whatsapp to accused Nahak, on the mobile phone of his wife Monalisha Raute. Thereafter, accused Nahak immediately forwarded them to his phone and sent them further to Priyanka before the commencement of the exam who later appeared for the test.

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