The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) investigating into the CRPF recruitment scam has estimated that touts and some officers involved in the recruitment of constables had collected well over Rs 225 crore from the aspirants.
The investigations carried out by the CBI revealed that amounts ranging between Rs 2 lakh and Rs 3 lakh were collected from each candidate by touts and part of the money allegedly went to some senior CRPF officers. The CBI had also collected proof of money transaction between touts and the officers in question, the sources said.
The central investigating agency began the probe into the recruitment scam in May last year and had arrested five accused including IG Pushkar Singh, DIG P S Baxla besides three touts from Muzaffarpur and Commandant of the 134 battalion B S Sidhu from Daltonganj in Jharkhand.
The investigations also established an inter-state link of touts with some senior officials of the central force posted in Bihar, Jharkhand, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Punjab and Delhi.
Reliable sources told Hindustan Times it appeared that hardly any of the appointments in Bihar and Jharkhand were free from complaints of irregularities. Between 2007 and 2009, more than 700 constables were recruited in the CRPF from the two states and the CBI, in the chargesheet submitted to a Patna court, said that the scam was deeply entrenched and carried out in connivance with some senior CRPF officers.
Disclosing the modus operandi of the racketeers, the CBI sources said once recruitment was announced and aspirants filled the forms, touts would note down their addresses and make contact, promising appointments for ‘a price to be shared among touts, CRPF commandants, DIGs and IG’.
Subsequently, touts would approach the commandants already in the loop, who would then relay bulk information on the deal to the DIGs concerned. Sources said the senior officers knew every small detail about the deal.
“Once the wholesale deal was finalised, favourable question papers were set and leaked to the candidates via touts,” CBI sources said, adding that the officers, in turn, would ensure that the favoured candidates appeared before ‘weak and motivated boards’ to ensure their selection.
“Though candidates had to match standard physical yardsticks like adequate height, chest width and absence of flat foot, some leniency was offered to favoured candidates to help them sail through,” the sources said. The scandal came to light after some candidates, who were unable to pay the demanded amount, were threatened with disqualification or not given job assurances.
The CBI arrested nine persons — IG Pushkar Singh, alleged mastermind of the racket, Mukesh and his wife, Swati Bhardwaj, Tripurari Kumar alias Bablu, Siddhnath Sharma from Kankerbagh (Patna), 132 Bn commandant Jadvinder Singh, 134 Bn commandant T M Baxla (Daltonganj, Jharkhand), CRPF Muzaffarpur DIG B S Sidhu and civilian Pankaj Kumar in connection with the scam, in 2009.
The CBI had allegedly recovered over Rs 23 lakh from Pushkar Singh’s residence during a search. A sum of Rs 70 lakh was also recovered from the possession of Swati.