Monday, June 25, 2012

NDA in recruitment scandal: Army corruption seeps into training establishments

Army colonel arrested in NDA recruitment ‘scam’
Rajshri Mehta, TNN Jun 24, 2012, 02.49AM IST
MUMBAI: The CBI on Saturday arrested Col Kulwinder Singh, staff officer (SO) to Lt Gen Jatinder Singh, National Defence Academy commandant, in connection with complaints of graft over the appointment of 40 lower-division clerks in the NDA.
Singh, who belongs to the Guards regiment, was arrested from a friend's residence in the Colaba military station.
The SO is like a personal secretary responsible for smooth functioning of the commandant's office.
The NDA's spokesperson confirmed the arrest but said they were still awaiting details from the CBI. Rishiraj Singh, CBI joint director, refused to comment saying investigations were on in the recruitment scam. "We will cooperate with the CBI," a senior officer in the Army headquarters said.
The NDA had in February invited applications to appoint 40 clerks. According to information, the anti-corruption bureau of the CBI received a complaint of a scam in which people were allegedly being promised the job of a clerk in the NDA on the payment of over Rs 50,000, though they did not fulfil the eligibility criteria. Singh's name was mentioned as one of the alleged beneficiaries of the bribe being paid through a middleman. It is, however, not yet clear what role Singh has played in the alleged scam.
This is probably the first time a graft charge has been leveled against an officer attached to the prestigious academy in Khadakwasla, Pune. "Not everyone gets an opportunity to work as an SO. It depends a lot on whether the officer seeking appointment hails from the same regiment and shared a rapport with the commandant or similar high-ranking officer in a previous tenure,'' said an officer.
The NDA spokesperson said: "The CBI asked for some documents Singh was handling. We have provided the same."
In June 2010, the CBI had arrested an army officer and his accomplice for allegedly running a job racket, in which lakhs of rupees were collected from youngsters after promising them jobs in the army. The same month, Maj Dependra Bhushan, a medical officer at the Army Recruitment Office in Colaba, was arrested for allegedly taking bribe to clear candidates in the medical test.
"The episode does not surprise me, but makes me sad as it confirms how deep the rot is in the army,'' said a high-ranking officer.
Comment: The Commandant is the real culprit who is using the SO. The CBI should investigate from the top as there is more to this dubious racket than what meets the eye. This is also another CBI diversionary tactics and initiative to delay the ongoing Adarsh and Tatra scams.

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