Three held by Delhi Police for duping 150 on pretext of Territorial Army job
Three men who posed as army officers to conduct fake physical tests and medical examination as part of fraud recruitment for the Territorial Army were arrested by Delhi Police crime branch on Monday.
The racket was allegedly being run by Bijay Kumar Singh who was arrested last July for the very same crime by the same crime branch team.
“When Singh came out on bail last year, he found his gang broken down. He then roped in four to five new men to carry out the fake recruitments using the same modus operandi,” Ram Gopal Naik, deputy commissioner of police (crime branch), said. Singh remains on the run.
DCP Naik said the gang used the army ground in Bhubaneswar in Odisha to conduct the fake tests. “They would conduct the tests at an army ground that was accessible for the public. It helped them come off as genuine,” the DCP said. The officer added the medical examinations were conducted at different hotels in Bhubaneshwar, Pune and Coimbatore.
Rajiv Ranjan, additional commissioner of police (crime branch), identified the three arrested men as Bal Kishan (34), Kottapalli Venkataramana Rao (36), and Kallepalli Srinivasa Rao (25).
According to the police, Venkataramana and Kishan had some expereince of the army recruitment process in different ways before they joined the racket, said police.
“Venkataramana had made several attempts to join the army, but couldn’t pass the physical tests,” said Ranjan. Kishan ran a coaching institute in Haryana’s Mahendragarh and had initially inadvertently fallen for the mastermind Bijay Kumar Singh’s racket, police said.
Singh had allegedly tricked Kishan into sending his students for the recruitment process. When the students realised they were being duped, they went after Kishan who in turn questioned Singh.
“Singh then lured Kishan into joining the racket in a full-fledged role,” Naik said. Kishan joined hands with Venkatramana and Srinivasa and two others as they went about duping over 150 men in the last one year,he added.
“They charged between Rs 1 lakh and Rs 1.5 lakh from each candidate. When their fraud would be discovered by the candidates, the fraudsters would switch off their mobile phones,” Naik said.
The gang made a lot of efforts to present themselves as real army officers, police said. Srinivasa had reportedly clicked pictures of himself in army uniform. The uniform belonged to Kishan’s uncle, who is deployed as a Subedar Major in the Indian army. The photos were used by the gang to present themselves as real army offices.
“At the hotels where the medical examinations were conducted, Srinivasa would wear a stethoscope around his neck, gloves in his hands and use a book to pretend to check the candidates’ colour-blindness. All the fraudsters would be dressed in army t-shirts and tracksuits. They would use forged stamps and fake signatures to issue admit cards to candidates,” Ranjan said.
The police said that the gang was inspired by the Bollywood film ‘Special 26 ‘like many cases of frauds in the past.
The gang’s run came to an end on Saturday when the crime branch received a tip-off that three suspects would arrive at south Delhi’s Mahipalpur to physically deliver admit cards to some candidates and collect money from them. “We arrested them and recovered 11 fake admit cards from them,” Ranjan said.
Since May last year, this is the fourth time the Delhi Police have busted gangs for conducting fake recruitment for the Territorial Army. The territorial army is the second line of defence of the Indian Army and hires people who are working in civilian professions.In all, 11 people have been arrested for these army recruitment rackets. In one of the earlier instances, the fraudsters would use the parks of Delhi Cantonment to conduct fake physical tests.