Numbai/Nagpur: The Army has ordered a high-level Court of Inquiry (CoI) into the alleged leak of question papers of an army recruitment examination, a day after the racket was busted by Thane police.
Sources said top army brass was briefed about the paper leak following which the CoI was instituted for a thorough probe based on which stringent action will be taken against the guilty.
The CoI was ordered by Southern Command of the Army and it will also examine any possible involvement of the serving personnel of the Army.
On Sunday, the Army had cancelled examinations at a number of centres including in Kamptee, Nagpur, Ahmednagar, Ahmedabad, Goa and Kirkee which come under the Pune zone. The sources said the tests at some other centres may be countermanded based on findings of the investigation.
The examinations were held on Sunday for a number of posts including those of soldier clerk, strongman and soldier tradesman at 52 centres across the country.
“Stringent action will be taken against those found guilty,” a source said. 18 suspects, including a retired serviceman and a paramilitary personnel have been arrested during raids in Maharashtra and Goa since Saturday midnight.
Joint Commissioner of Thane police Ashutosh Dumbare had said on Sunday that 350 students who possessed question papers were also detained for questioning.
A case was registered under various sections of the Indian Penal Code, IT Act and Prevention of Corruption Act against the accused who were being brought to Thane for further probe. Among those arrested, 9 were from Pune, 6 from Nagpur and three from Goa, he said. Of the detained candidates, 79 are from Pune, 222 from Nagpur and 49 from Goa, the officer had said.
The Thane police had received information a couple of days ago from an institute which conducts coaching classes for army job aspirants that some city students were to be given the question papers in advance for a price.
Around 80 officials of the Thane city police laid a trap and caught the students and middlemen from lodges and other places with the copies of question papers, the officer said.
The middlemen had also arranged for fake domicile and residence proof for students hailing from other places so as to enable them appear for the exams in that zone. The beneficiary was to pay around Rs 4 to 5 lakh to the middlemen, said Dumbare.
The police suspect that the papers were leaked either from the press where it was printed or from the distribution centres.
The Thane city police are exchanging information with Director of Army Recruitment Exams and also the Military Intelligence wing regarding the leak, he said.
DCP, Crime, Parag Manere said the papers were leaked to aspirants through WhatsApp.
Following the tip-off about the leak, Thane police, with the help of their local counterparts, conducted raids in Nashik, Pune and Nagpur in Maharashtra, and Goa. Some aspirants were found writing the papers at different places in Thane during the raids.