Shimla- After seven persons were caught impersonating as candidates in the written examination held on last Sunday for the recruitment of constables in Himachal Pradesh Police, the series of arrests continues. The number of arrested accused including those who were impersonating and those who were being impersonated has reached 21 by Thursday. Cases have been filed against them at Bhawarna police station under Sections 419 and 420 of Indian Penal Code.
All accused are on police remand following their arrest, and their interrogation is leading to more arrests. Among the arrested, 11 accused belong to Kangra district, two to Uttar Pradesh, seven to Haryana, and one to Rajasthan. The kingpin is believed to be Vikram, a resident of Darkati area of Jawali constituency in Kangra district. Vikram’s house was raided and about Rs, 11 lakhs were recovered. However, the kingpin managed to escape and is still at large.
So far, the investigation has revealed that the links of this scam are related to coaching centres located in Haryana and Rajasthan. Candidates, who enrolled at these centres for coaching were lured. As per the investigation, the deal was sealed with each candidate for five lakh rupees. About 50,000 were charged in advance prior to the examination while the remaining amount was to be paid after the exam.
In one of the cases, the police found that the real candidate had sold his property to get this deal.
On Sunday, seven accused were nabbed at the examination centre at Paraura in Palampur appearing on behalf of real candidates after one of them fumbled when asked about his address. Four jackets specially fabricated with wires, mobile and earphones were recovered from a vehicle near the centre following questioning from the arrested candidate. While seven of them were arrested before they could take the exam, five others had still managed to complete the written exam.
Following this revelation, serious questions were raised on the working of the police department and the government. The government had to announce the cancellation of exams at all 19 centres across the state. Reportedly, CID had given prior inputs regarding the possible attempt of impersonation. These candidates also managed to cross metal detectors despite being wired. The admit cards of the candidates also featured QR codes, which were to be scanned before granting entry into the examination hall. Still, these accused managed to get entry into the hall.
Around 38,000 candidates had appeared in the examination in these centres in all the 12 districts for a total 1,063 posts of constable. The government announced that a fresh written examination would be held and no fee would be charged from the candidates. The dates for the examination would be announced soon, infomred a spokesperson of the police department.
A Special Investigating Team led by Deputy Superintendent of Police, Palampur, Amit Sharma, had been formed to investigate the case thoroughly.
As per the SIT, coaching centres named by arrested accused are being raided and police of respective states are being contacted to obtain the criminal records of arrested accused.
It is being believed that the links of this gang could be connected to examinations held previously for posts in other government departments. This could lead to an investigation into these previous recruitments too.
After this shocker, the district police of Kangra has sent its recommendations to the headquarters for installation of jammers and biometrics at examination centres to prevent any such cases of cheating in future.
As far as the fresh written examination is concerned, it is believed that it would take at least a couple of months to arrange it. The candidates would have to likely wait at least till November to take the fresh examination.