The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has registered a corruption and criminal conspiracy case against 17 Indian Army personnel, including five Lieutenant Colonels and two Major-ranked officers apart from six others, in a recruitment scam at Service Selection Board (SSB) Centres, reported NDTV.
The officers have been charged with corruption.
The central agency teams on Monday, March 16, conducted raids at 30 locations across 13 cities including the Army's Base Hospital in Delhi Cantonment Area, residences of several accused in Bhatinda, Kapurthala, Kaithal, Palwal, Lucknow, Bareilly, Gorakhpur, Visakhapatnam, Jaipur, Guwahati and Jorhat. The searches resulted in the recovery of several incriminating documents, the agency said.
The accused include 17 army personnel and six others with "allegations pertaining to bribery and irregularities in recruitment of officers and other ranks through Service Selection Board", the agency said.
The case was registered based on a complaint from the office of Additional Directorate General, Discipline & Vigilance, Adjutant General's Branch, Integrated HQ of Ministry of Defence (Army).
Last month, the CBI received a complaint alleging that serving personnel were involved in accepting bribes for helping candidates clear medical exams at New Delhi's Base Hospital.
Lt Col MVSNA Bhagwan of the Army Air Defence Corps, the alleged mastermind of the scam, is among those named, CBI said. Several lower-rank Army officials and relatives of the accused have also been booked.
The agency said that Lt Col Surender Singh of 31 SSB centre North; Lt Col YS Chauhan of 6 Mountain Division Ordnance Unit; Lt Col Sukhdev Arora of Directorate General of Recruiting; Lt Col Vinay, GTO, Selection Centre South, Bangalore; and Major Bhavesh Kumar allegedly facilitated the selection of candidates through SSB.
Bribes in several lakh rupees were paid to the officers through cheques, cash, and online transfers for the selection of candidates, the agency said.
The Indian Army, in its complaint, said that there is enough evidence of culpability of civilians and service personnel as the recipient of bribery. To ensure the accused do not go scot-free, the matter is given to the CBI, Army said.