The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Sunday busted a nationwide defence recruitment scam and arrested four persons, who allegedly leaked question papers of the Indian Navy’s recruitment exam.
The scam came to light when the anti-corruption branch of the CBI raided a lodge in south Mumbai on Saturday, where they found copies of the question papers for the Lower Division Clerk (LDC) recruitment examination, along with answer keys. The sleuths recovered Rs 1.85 lakh from the lodge.
The accused have been identified as RC Naik, an Administrative Officer (AO) of Western Naval Dockyard; DS Murthy, AO of Eastern Naval Dockyard; Ranbir Singh Rawat, owner of Manasa International Defence Recruitment Agency in Vishakapatnam, Andhra Pradesh; and Haryana-based teacher Hoshiyar Singh.
According to Rishi Raj Singh, Joint Director CBI (West Zone), they were arrested for leaking exam papers to 150 students in exchange for money. While Rawat, Naik and Hoshiyar Singh were arrested from the lodge, Murthy was arrested from another hotel in south Mumbai. The quartet would charge anywhere between Rs 15,000–50,000 from aspirants.
The test was held on Sunday at the Kohali Stadium at the Navy Nagar Centre for 175 posts of LDC.
A total of 35,000 candidates appeared, said Singh, adding that handwritten receipts acknowledging payments were recovered from 138 candidates.
An official added that the entire lodge had been booked in advance to train the candidates, who had paid for the leaked question papers. CBI Deputy Inspector General (DIG) Pravin Salunke said, “ The question papers for the examination were being printed in Pune. Rawat and Murthy carried a soft copy of the paper on their pen drive and made copies of it.”
According to Singh, the CBI has sent the report of the investigations to the board that conducts the exams and it is they who will decide about the validity of the examination. “The candidates would be witnesses in the case against the quartet, who will be presented before the court on Monday,” added Singh. The CBI is also trying to find out if any other staff or officer from the Navy was involved in the scam.
Rawat, who is the kingpin, was a sailor and had resigned around six years back. “Rawat was running 15 placement agencies throughout the country was also involved in developing a database software that was to aid the army in its operations,” said Singh.
Later, the Navy issued a statement stating that the test had been scrapped following the leak. “The exam will be rescheduled shortly. A high-level board of inquiry has been ordered by the Western Naval Command and personnel found guilty will be severely dealt with,” read the statement.