By Anand Singh
New Delhi: The internal probe carried out by the Army in the alleged Army recruitment scam has found that officers allegedly cleared candidates for the Services Selection Board (SSB) of the National Defence Academy (NDA) in December 2020 in lieu of money, sources said on Tuesday.
The CBI has registered a case on March 13 this year on a complaint from the office of Additional Directorate General, Discipline and Vigilance, Adjutant General’s Branch, Integrated Headquarter of Ministry of Defence (Army), DHQ PO, New Delhi.
The CBI has booked 17 army officials including those of the ranks of Lieutenant colonel, Major, Naib Subedar, Sepoy etc; six private persons and others on the allegations pertaining to bribery and irregularities in recruitment of officers and other ranks through the SSB.
The official said that several incriminating documents have been seized during the searches. The official said that the documents recovered during searches are being scrutinised.
After registering a case, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) carried out searches at 30 locations in at least 13 cities — Kapurthala, Bathinda, Delhi, Kaithal, Palwal, Lucknow, Bareilly, Gorakhpur, Visakhapatnam, Jaipur, Guwahati, Jorhat and Chirangon.
According to Army sources, it has been revealed that Naib Subedar Kuldeep Singh, posted at Base Hospital at Delhi Cantonment sought assistance in passing SSB from Lt Colonel MVSNA Bhagwan in lieu of money.
The source further said that Singh also touted aspiring candidates to Lt Colonel Bhagwan and he also accepted monetary gratification from Havildar Pawan Kumar for selection of his son in SSB. For the same, an undisclosed amount of cash was taken.
Lt Colonel Bhagwan is currently on study leave in Visakhapatnam.
The source further alleged that Lt Colonel Bhagwan, who was former GTO at 31 SSB, Kapurthala between 2015-19, received financial gratification for selection of Lt Navjot Kanwar. He said that he also lured candidates under the garb of clearing SSB in lieu of money.
The source also said that Lt Colonel Bhagwan was also seen taking a package from Naib Subedar Kuldeep Singh in a video footage of the passing out parade on February 26 this year.
The source highlighted the role of Lt Colonel Surender Singh (Regiment of Artillery) Service Selection Centre, North Kapurthala. He said that Surender Singh allegedly accepted bribes for selection of 10-15 candidates and Rs one lakh was received by him in his bank account from Neeraj Kumar, son of Havildar Pawan Kumar.
He also alleged that an undisclosed amount of cash for selection of 10-15 candidates was sent to Surender Singh’s brother-in-law Bhupender Bajaj in Delhi.
The source also said that Major Bhavesh Kumar (Corps of Engineers) SSC, North Kapurthala. Citing his role, the report stated that Bhavesh Kumar received undisclosed amount of cash for selection of 10-11 candidates, and the cash part of the gratification was later transferred into accounts of family members.
Similarly, the role of Lt Navjot Singh, 12 GRENADIERS/21 Mountain Division in Assam’s Guwahati has also been highlighted.
He alleged that Lt Navjot Singh bribed Lt Colonel Bhagwan and Naib Subedar Kuldeep Singh for his selection. Navjot Singh gave Rs 10 lakh to Lt Colonel Bhagwan through Kuldeep Singh and a civilian woman named Pragati.
The source highlighted that Rs 5 lakh were transferred into the account of Kuldeep Singh through banking channels while Rs 4.5 lakh was transferred through banking channels to Pragati, who is a friend of Kuldeep Singh.
The source further alleged that Havildar Pawan Kumar, posted at Army Service Corps Centre in Bengaluru, bribed Lt Colonel Bhagwan and Naib Subedar Kuldeep Singh for selection of his son in NDA-146 course.
For the same, Pawan Kumar transferred an undisclosed amount of cash to Kuldeep Singh and also transferred Rs 50,000 through UPI credit into bank account of Kuldeep Singh. He further highlighted that the undisclosed amount of cash was transferred through two cheques to Kuldeep Singh followed by Rs 2 lakh transfer through UPI into the bank account of Usha Kumawat, mother of Major Bhavesh Kumar and Rs 1 lakh each UPI transfer in the bank account of Major Bhavesh’s father Surendra Kumar and Major Bhavesh’s wife Devyani.
The source said that the Army’s probe also pointed fingers at role of Lt Colonel YS Chauhan, who is posted at 6 Division Ordinance Unit, Bareilly for his alleged involvement as revealed by Lt Colonel Surender Singh, while he was posted at SSC, North Kapurthala and Lt Colonel Sukhdev Arora, Joint Director DG, Rect, New Delhi for his alleged involvement in selection malpractices as revealed by Lt Colonel Surender Singh.
Citing the role of Lt Colonel Vinay, the source said that he was previously posted as GTO in selection centre in Bengaluru and he approached Lt Colonel Surender SIngh for selection of some candidates in SSB. It further said that the officer has retired from the Army.
Meanwhile, Cadet Hemant Dagar SSC (T) 53, OTA Chennai and Cadet Indrajeet, NCC (SPL) Entry-47, OTA Chennai bribed Major Bhavesh Kumar for selection.
The source said that the army probe also highlighted the role of private woman Pragati facilitated transfer of money from her account to other beneficiaries.
He said that the army internal probe further revealed that Major Bhavesh used the bank account of his father to transfer other monetary gratification received in cash. He said, it alleged that Neeraj Kumar, son of Havildar Pawan Kumar fraudulently enrolled for NDA, while Major Amit Fagna, posted at 422 Field Hospital in Delhi Cantonment allegedly received bribe for clearing medical board of temporarily rejected candidates.
He said, the report also stated that Naik Parwinder Jeet Singh, Medical Board Section, Base Hospital in Delhi Cantonment was bribed for clearing medical board of temporarily rejected candidates. It further said that he also transferred cash to the tune of Rs 2.66 lakh for the same.
The source said, Sepoy Kuldeep Singh used to assist Naib Subedar Kuldeep Singh in referring candidates to Naik Parwinder to seek clearing of temporarily rejected candidates. Sepoy Rohit Kanwar, posted at Central Vehicle Depot Workshop in Delhi Cantonment was bribed for clearing medical board of temporarily rejected candidates. Havildar Harpal Singh of 227 Army Services Corps Battalion, was also bribed for clearing medical board of temporarily rejected candidates.
Meanwhile, Havildar Rajesh Kumar, used to collect lists from Independent Recruitment Organisation of temporarily rejected candidates and divulged the merit list prematurely.
(Anand SIngh can be contacted at [email protected])