The Central Bureau of Investigation has booked 17 top officials including six Lieutenant Colonels in a recruitment scam that rocked the Indian Army's Service Selection Board.Besides, a serving Major and his entire family have also been booked for alleged graft.

The scam has exposed deep-rooted corruption in the armed forces. Around 23 accused have been named in the scam. The investigating agency was acting on a complaint by the office of Additional Directorate General, Discipline & Vigilance, Adjutant General's Branch, Integrated HQ of Ministry of Defence (Army).

The accused are allegedly involved in bribery and irregularities in recruiting officers and other ranks through Service Selection Board (SSB).

The Army received specific inputs about the involvement of serving officials accepting bribes for clearance of review med exam of temporary rejected candidates at the base hospital in Delhi. Accused Kuldeep Singh and Lt Col MVSNA Bhagawan (currently on study leave) posted at Vishakhapatnam are allegedly involved in demanding money from potential officer candidates at the service selection board.

Two Lieutenant Colonels are accused of seeking monetary benefits to help candidates pass the service selection board test. Lt Col MVSNA reportedly took Rs 50,000, Rs 3 lakh, Rs 10 lakhs on separate occasions. The bribes taken by other officials are still not known.

Who are the accused?

Seventeen Army officials have been booked in the scam. They include Lieutenant colonel MVSNA Bhagwan, Army Air Defence Corps (currently on study leave) from Vishakhapatnam; Lt Col Surender Singh from Service selection station, Kapurthala; Lt Col YS Chauhan, 6 mountain division ordinance unit, Bareilly; Lt Col Sukhdev Arora, Joint Director, Directorate General Recruiting, New Delhi; Lt Col Vinay, GTO, Bengaluru; Lt Col Navjot Singh Kanwar, 12 Grenadiers, 21 Mountain Division, Assam; Major Bhavesh Kumar, Group Testing Officer, Kapurthala, his wife Devyani, his father Surender Kumar and mother Usha Kumawat.

Among the cadets booked are Hemant Dagar, SSC (tech), Chennai; Inderjeet NCC (SPL) Entry 47, Chennai; Havildar Pawan Kumar, Army Service Corps Centre, Bengaluru; Havildar Harpal Singh, 227 Army Service Corps Battalion; Havildar Rajesh Kumar, Delhi Cant; Sepoy Rohit Kanwar, Central Vehicle Depot workshop, Delhi Cantonment; Sepoy Kuldeep Singh; Naik Parwinder Jeet Singh, Delhi Cant; Major Amit Fagna, Delhi.

On March 16, the CBI carried out searches at 30 places including Base Hospital, Cantonment, Army establishments, and civilian areas covering 13 cities including Kapurthala, Bathinda, Delhi, Kaithal, Palwal, Lucknow, Bareli, Gorakhpur, Vishakhapatnam, Jaipur, Guwahati, Jorhat and Chirangon. It led to the recovery of several incriminating documents. The seized documents are being scrutinized.

CBI has registered a case under section 7, 7 (A), 8, and 12 of the Prevention of Corruption Act and 120 B and substantive offences of Indian Penal code.

Coreena Suares

Coreena Enet Suares is the Editor of NewsMeter. Her stories have been published in the Deccan Chronicle Newspaper and the Asian Age. Coreena began her career as a News Anchor. Throughout her journey, she has been able to build a strong network with people from all walks of life. She is an alumnus of Edward R. Murrow Program for Journalists- Research and Investigation, a flagship initiative of the International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP) Coreena is also a certified fact-checker by Google India Initiative. She has attended the 'Defence Correspondents Course 2019, through which she visited Indo- Pak border, besides traveling on a War-ship and insight into operations of Fighter aircraft. Coreena's focus areas are anti-crime investigation agencies and Defence reporting.

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