A 47-year-old Army Major arrested in connection with a recruitment exam paper leak in Pune was on Monday remanded in police custody till March 15. The Pune police told the court of Additional Sessions Judge SR Navandar that Major Thiru Murugan Thangavelu, who was arrested from Tamil Nadu, had forwarded the question paper to one of the arrested accused identified as Bharat Adakmol using a messaging app.
Public Prosecutor Premkumar Agrawal told the court that Thangavelu had forwarded the leaked question paper to other accused through Whatsapp, and the police needed to know from where he got this exam paper and to whom all he had forwarded it. Agrawal said Thangavelu and Adakmol had deleted mobile phone chats, which had to be retrieved, and a probe was needed to unearth financial transactions and further links.
The prosecution also told the court they had recovered Class X and XII board certificates belonging to exam aspirants from the possession of the accused army officer. Defence counsel A D Lonandkar opposed the plea and told the court that the accused’s phone had already been seized and, therefore, there was no need for police custody.
Remanding Thangavelu to police custody till March 15, Judge Navandar said the accused is the key person in the paper leak conspiracy. “Due to unlawful activities, the entire process of recruitment was stopped and the exam postponed. Considering the seriousness of the crime, there is a need for a thorough investigation and for that sufficient police custody is required," the judge observed.
Relevant sections of IPC, Maharashtra Prevention of Malpractices at University, Board and OtherSpecified Examinations Act, andPrevention of Corruption Act have been invoked in the case. So far, six persons have been arrested, including three Army personnel, for the leak that took place on February 28.
Apart from the Major and Adakmol, the other arrested accused are Kishir Giri (40), Madhav Gitte (39), Gopal Koli (31) and Uday Auti (23). On February 28, the Army Relation Recruitment Exam, which was to be conducted in Pune’s BEG centre and 40 other locations across the country, had to be cancelled due to the leak.
The case is being probed by Wanwadi police.