Thirty-five youths from Punjab, Haryana and Rajasthan were booked on Saturday for allegedly using fake residence proofs, to get recruited into the army in September last year.
The matter came to light when the army recruitment office (ARO), Ludhiana, conducted a detailed scrutiny of certificates of the candidates in the wake of the arrest of a gang in Rupnagar last month and seized from them fake stamps and seals of police and revenue officials of Ludhiana and Rupnagar districts.
Army recruitment office director Colonel Vishal Dubey said a verification of the suspect candidates was carried out by sending staff to the addresses provided in the documents which were shown as confirmed or attested by the house owners, municipal councillors, sarpanches or local MLAs. The addresses of these candidates were found to be fake, he said.
The candidates are believed to have forged addresses of Ludhiana, Mohali and Rupnagar, SBS Nagar and Moga as the army’s Ludhiana centre conducts recruitment for these districts only.
An FIR was registered at the division number 5 police station against Sanjay Singh, Jaswinder Singh, Vinod Kumar, Manpreet Singh, Kuldeep Singh, Sonu Singh, Rajbeer Singh, Vikram Singh, Manjeet Singh, Govind Singh, Sunny Singh, Ramkesh Singh, Sushil Singh, Jagdeep Singh, Charanjit Singh, Ashok Singh, Rahul, Pradeep Singh, Lovepreet Singh, Jagdeep Singh, Vijendra, Pawan Singh, Pawanveer Singh, Manjeet, Deepak Singh, Vikas Kumar Mann, Tarun Sharma, Kuldeep Singh, Pradeep Singh, Sonu, Vikram Singh, Premjit Singh, Pradeep Singh, Amarjeet Singh and Sandeep Singh among others. They are from various parts of Punjab, Haryana and Rajasthan.
Col Dubey said a civil defence employee of their office was also involved in the racket and he was handed over to police in a case registered on February 1.
He said it was found during the verification that the address of two candidates was same. When checked, the residence belonged to Mohinder Singh, a former army havildar and kingpin of the gang, against whom an arrest warrant was issued on February 11, he added.
Also, addresses of some candidates did not exist.
Investigating officer Manjeet Singh said the case was registered under Sections of 420 (cheating and dishonestly inducing delivery of property), 465 (punishment for forgery), 467 (forging a document which purports to be a valuable security or a will etc), 468 (forgery for purpose of cheating) and 471 (using as genuine a forged 1[document or electronic record) of the Indian Penal Code.
On January 19, the Rupnagar police arrested Amit Kumar and Manoj Kumar of Ferozepur cantonment area, Manjit Singh and Sunil of Jind in Haryana and their kingpin Yogesh Kumar of Salem Tabri in Ludhiana. Twenty nine Aadhaar cards, fake documents of 48 individuals, 68 attestation stamps of station house officers (SHOs), tehsildars and municipal councillors were recovered from them.
The booked accused have been identified as Sanjay Singh of Mohali, Jaswinder Singh, Vinod Kumar of Rupnagar, Manpreet Singh, Kuldeep Singh, Sonu Singh, Rajbeer Singh, Vikram Singh, Manjeet Singh, Govind Singh of SBS Nagar.
The other accused persons are Sunny Singh, Ramkesh Singh, Sushil Singh, Jagdeep Singh, Vijendra, Pawan Singh, Panveer Singh, Manjeet, Deepak Singh, Vikas Kumar, Tarun Sharma, Kuldeep Singh, Pradeep Singh, Sonu, Vikram Singh, Premjit Singh, Pradeep Singh, Amarjeet Singh and Shamsher.
Confirming the development, Dubey said, “One civil defence employee from the ARO office was also involved and has been handed over to the police in a case already registered at police station division number 5 on February 1.
He informed that during the detailed scrutiny of fake residence certificates of the fraudulent candidates, it was observed that these certificates were found to be correct during online verification. To verify the same, the ARO Ludhiana carried out the verification of the suspected candidates by sending a team of ARO staff at the addresses provided in the residence certificates. The same was confirmed and attested on a certificate by the respective house owner, municipal councilor, sarpanch and MLA.
Col Dubey informed that none of the addresses were found correct in respect of the fraudulent candidates. He said that it was observed during verification of the two candidates that their residence was same on being checked physically by an official of ARO Ludhiana and it came to the forefront that the house belonged to the touts kingpin namely Ex Havaldar Mohinder Singh against whom an arrest warrant has been issued on February 11.
Also the residence of two candidates were not found on ground as the said address did not exist. The scrutiny of other suspected addresses of a total of 35 candidates is in progress by the ARO staff.
Col Vishal Dubey has written a letter to the Deputy Commissioners of Ludhiana, Moga, Mohali and Rupnagar and to the Police Commissioner of Ludhiana and DIG’s for proper action.
“It may be treated seriously as undesirable elements can get enrolled in the Indian Army using unfair means and cause damage to the organisation besides eating away the vacancies of Punjab youth as majority of these candidates hail from Haryana and Rajasthan,” he said.
He further stated that strict action would be taken against the recruits who got themselves enrolled in the Indian army by using fraudulent methods.
The investigating officer, Manjeet Singh of police station Division no 5 said a case under sections of 420, 465, 467, 468, 471 of IPC has been registered against the accused.
On January 19, the Ropar police arrested Amit Kumar and Manoj Kumar of Ferozepur cantonment area, Manjit Singh and Sunil of Jind in Haryana and Yogesh Kumar, the king pin, of Salem Tabri, Ludhiana. The police also recovered 29 Aadhaar cards, fake document sets of 48 individuals, 68 attestation stamps including designation of SHO, tehsildar and municipal councilor.