In what could be a major embarrassment for the army, at least four cases of fake recruitment have come to light in the Mahar regiment.
The Madhya Pradesh police arrested four recruits from regiment's centre in Sagar on 14 July. They are accused of entering the training process of the regiment by furnishing fake raydari forms.
A raydari form is a confidential document issued by the army to the recruits after they clear all the stages of the entrance process.
Out of the arrested men, Mukesh Kumar is a resident of Jhunjhunu district in Rajasthan while Mandeep Singh belongs to Alwar. Another accused Lokesh and Ajay Kumar reportedly belong to Haryana.
The Modus Operandi
According to investigations so far, all the accused had procured the raydari forms from Delhi's Independent Recruitment Office (IRO). They have reportedly confessed to having paid one Girraj Singh Rs 5 lakh each to get the forms issued. Girraj Singh is allegedly a soldier of 105 TA Batallion posted in Delhi. A clerk named Resham is also said to be involved in the forgery of the forms.
They then came to regiment centre on 25 June and unsuspecting army officers even allowed them to stay for 19 days in the regiment premises.
However, Col Brijesh Singh, Deputy Commandant of Mahar Regiment, claims the accused did not join the training.
"These youths were made to stay near the gate as their verification process had not been completed," Col Singh insists.
The accused came under suspicion when three other recruits arrived at the regiment centre with original raydari forms, just a couple of days after they had reported there.
Normally, the photograph attached in the raydari form is taken with shirts removed. But, the forms submitted by the four accused had snaps with their shirts on. This further raised the doubt of the Mahar regiment officers.
The training officer of the regiment eventually lodged a complaint with the Sagar police and the fraudsters were nabbed.
Investigative agencies in a tizzy
While Sagar police is interrogating the arrested youth after filing a case of forgery against them, there are doubts that the rot could be much more widespread.
The Military Intelligence, CBI as well as other security agencies have started investigating the matter. Around 18 people have been taken into custody from Sagar, Nagpur, and Bengaluru so far.
The sources claim there could be more arrests in the case.
The entire scam has raised several questions about the functioning of the IRO as well as the entire recruitment process of the army.
Here are a few unanswered questions:
Why did the army officers at Mahar Regiment's Sagar headquarters remain silent for 19 days when the original recruits had arrived just two days after the accused were admitted?
Why nobody noticed the size of the IRO stamp on the fake documents which were visibly smaller than the original stamp?
The presence of a watermark determines the genuineness of a raydari form. The fake forms did not have any such mark. Yet, why didn't anybody in the Mahar regiment raised any alarm?
Every raydari form contains scanned fingerprints, which were missing in this case. But, nobody bothered to ask a question from the accused for 19 days in this regard. Why?
-Written by Sanjay Sharma