Armed forces recruitment scam: CBI books 17 Army officers over corruption charges
Irregularities in recruitment for Indian armed forces, hinting towards a scam has triggered CBI (Central Bureau of Investigation) to book 17 Army officers, which includes five Lt Col rank officers, and six private people.
The senior officers booked by the CBI are Lt Col MVSNA Bhagwan of the Army Air Defence Corps; Lt Col Surender Singh of Service Selection Centre, Kapurthala; Lt Col Y S Chauhan of 6 Mountain Division Ordnance Unit, Bareilly; Lt Col Sukhdev Arora, Joint Director, DG Recruiting, New Delhi; Lt Col Vinay, Group Testing Officer (GTO), Selection Centre South, Bengaluru; and Major Bhavesh Kumar, GTO, Selection Centre North, Kapurthala.
The said officers have been charged with corruption by CBI as the agency carried out searches on Monday at 30 different locations pan India.
Sources have allegedly named Lt Col MVSNA Bhagwan as the mastermind of the recruitment scam. Many relatives of accused officers and lower-ranking Army officials have been booked in the subject.
The FIR was filed by CBI based on a complaint that was registered by Brig (Vigilance), V.K. Purohit. Brig alleged that an input was received on February 28, 2021, that pointed towards the involvement of serving army officials in accepting bribes for clearing medical review of temporarily rejected candidates at Base Hospital, New Delhi. The complaint named Lt Col Bhagwan and Naib Subedar Kuldeep Singh for seeking said bribe from potential candidates at SSB centers. Lt Col Bhagwan is currently on study leave.
Regarding officers being booked, a CBI spokesperson said, “Searches were conducted today at 30 places including Base Hospital, Cantonment, other Army establishments, civilian areas covering 13 cities, viz. Kapurthala, Bathinda, Delhi, Kaithal, Palwal, Lucknow, Bareilly, Gorakhpur, Vishakhapatnam, Jaipur, Guwahati, Jorhat, and Chirangon, which led to the recovery of several incriminating documents. The documents so recovered during searches are being scrutinized.”
Army has released a statement in the matter stating, “Indian Army has zero-tolerance towards corrupt practices in the recruitment process for selection of suitable candidates for Indian Army. Based on a proactive operation by Army intelligence agencies, a case of possible malpractice in selection procedures at a Services Selection Centre has come to light. Since the scope of investigation involves multiple agencies including civil entities, Indian Army has decided to hand over the case to the Central Bureau of Investigation.”