Following action from Military Intelligence in Pune, Pimpri-Chinchwad Police have arrested three persons, including a retired Army soldier and the owner of a coaching class, for allegedly cheating youths on the pretext of giving them jobs in the Border Roads Organisation (BRO).
Police have, till now, arrested three persons in the case, identified as Satish Dahane (40), Shriram Kadam (60) and Akshay Wankhede (26).
Investigators said that Dahane retired in 2018 as a Lance Naik from Maratha Light Infantry of the Indian Army and is now running a shop inside a military formation in Aundh.
Kadam is a retired civilian defence employee from the General Reserve Engineer Force (GREF) Centre in Pune. He allegedly posed as a retired Army captain and ran a recruitment coaching class in Pune for youths aspiring to join defence services. Wankhede allegedly acted as an agent in the case and played a role getting the aspiring candidates to pay the money to get recruited.
Investigators have, till now, identified five candidates who have paid money to the racketeers on the pretext of getting defence jobs and officials believe that more candidates have been cheated in the similar manner by the same set of suspects.
Sub-Inspector M P Varude, who is investigating the case, said the three suspects have been remanded to police custody till January 10.
Preliminary probe has revealed that Dahane and Kadam, who posed as serving soldier and captain respectively, promised candidates jobs as vehicle mechanic in the BRO and GREF for Rs 5 lakh each. They asked candidates to pay Rs 50,000 at the time of submitting application, Rs 2 lakh at the time of the written examination and Rs 2.5 lakh at the time of medical and physical tests.
In December last year, the suspects allegedly took advance of Rs 50,000 from each of the candidates. Wankhede played the role of middleman by getting the candidates to Dahane and Kadam. It was after the candidates made initial payments that Military Intelligence officials, working on a specific input, busted the racket.
In the searches conducted following their arrest, fake GREF stationery, documents and application forms have been recovered from the suspects.
The BRO is a road construction force under the purview of the Ministry of Defence that provides support to Indian Armed Forces. BRO consists of officers from the Corps of Engineers of the Indian Army, along with the officers from Border Roads Engineering Service and personnel from the GREF.
This is the latest case of malpractice in the defence recruitment process unearthed in Pune over the last one year. In February last year, a joint probe by Military Intelligence and Pune Police unearthed a paper leak scam in the Army recruitment process. The probe has till now seen the arrest of one Lieutenant Colonel, two officers of Major rank, one serving soldier and four ex-servicemen and other civilians.
In a joint operation with the Indian Army in November, the Central Bureau of Investigation arrested two serving Army Havildars for bribery in the process of recruitment of civilian personnel for in Army Ordnance Corps.
The CBI further booked an officer of Lieutenant Colonel rank and two more Army personnel for allegedly leaking the answer keys for an Army exam.