Pune: The Indian Army on Sunday cancelled its common entrance exam for recruitment of soldiers (general duty) following a question paper leak.
In a joint operation on Saturday night, Military Intelligence (MI) unit and Pune police’s crime branch arrested two ex-servicemen and a civil defence cook for leaking a question paper. Some more arrests are expected as raids continued in three other districts, a police officer said.
“We cross-checked and found that the question paper that got circulated on WhatsApp matched 100% with the original question paper. We will investigate further,” Pune police commissioner Amitabh Gupta told TOI.
In Pune, the exam was to be held at the Bombay Engineering Group and Centre (BEG&C). “About 1,000 aspirants from Pune and adjoining districts had reported for the test but, on getting instructions, we had to cancel the exam. A fresh date for the exam will be announced by the Directorate of Army Recruitment,” an army officer said.
This is the second instance since 2017 when a pan-India army recruitment exam had to be cancelled. The modus operandi too was similar, job aspirants were contacted with a promise of 100% recruitment against payment in the range of Rs2 lakh and Rs5 lakh. The suspect would collect original documents from aspirants with an assurance of returning the same once they clear the exam and get selected, the police said.
When contacted, army’s director general (recruiting) Lt Gen Pradeep C Nair said, “We will investigate every aspect of the matter.” Asked if a court of inquiry has been ordered, he said, “The matter has come to the fore only today. We will take a decision on this soon.”
Ganesh Salunke (21), an aspirant from Sangli, lodged an FIR after the police contacted him following the arrest of ex-servicemen Ali Akhtar and Mahendra Sonawane and Azad Khan, a civil defence cook, who lives in Bopkhel near Pune. Akhtar hails from Ghazipur in Uttar Pradesh and was residing at Vishrantwadi here while Sonawane is from Chincholi Gurav in Satara district. All three have been booked for criminal breach of trust, cheating and common intention.
Crime branch inspector Rajnish Nirmal and his team made the arrests. So far, the investigation has revealed that the trio took Rs1 lakh advance from some candidates. The remaining amount was to be taken later, the police said. The three men had approached the complainant on February 6 when the latter had gone to collect his exam admit card at the BEG&C.