Corruption in bureaucratic circles is not an exception in Madhya Pradesh. Perhaps for the first time, an IAS officer has landed in the police net for forging two court verdicts to get the IAS cadre awarded in his favor.
The Indore police have arrested the officer, Santosh Verma, on July 10. A court has remanded him to police custody till July 17 and he was sent to jail as his police remand ended on Sunday. Verma had been an officer of the State Administrative Service and his name was recently featured in the Departmental Promotion Committee (DPC) for an IAS cadre.
The officer realised that his promotion to IAS cadre could be problematic as a criminal case was pending against him at an Indore police station on charges of threatening a woman Harshita Agrawal in the past.
It was the woman complainant who had approached the police in Indore after hearing about Verma being awarded an IAS cadre and she realised that the officer must have done something with the earlier complaint, said the police who had recorded her statement on July 15. The officer was taken into police custody on July 10 at midnight after a 12-hour long questioning at MG Road police station in Indore.
The police said Harshita Agrawal had complained about Lasudiya police in the past against Verma over criminal intimidation and the case was pending in the court. Recently, when the name came to a DPC for the promotion, the General Administration Department sought details of criminal cases from Verma, if any. Verma submitted a copy of the court verdict which suggested ‘settlement’ in the matter. The officers told him that settlement is no exculpation in a criminal case. Then Verma furnished another court verdict saying he has been exonerated in the same case. This made officers suspicious who approached Indore IG HN Mishra, who constituted an enquiry into the matter.
Verma summoned by the MG Road police on July 10 had reached there with his lawyer and several documents. Police soon asked his lawyer to leave the interrogation room and seized Verma’s mobile phone which had a chat with a judge.
The police said that the said judge who is on friendly terms with Verma persuaded Indore District Prosecution Officer Aram Sheikh not to appeal in the matter further. Sheikh had later approached the police with his chats with the said judge.
The officer during police questioning kept misleading them. After hectic cross-questioning from the police, he broke down and accepted his misdeeds. Police also unlocked his cellphone seizing several voice calls and are now carrying on voice tests to ascertain the identities of the Verma’s contacts who could have a bearing in the case, said a senior police officer.
The police added that on June 27, the judge on whose name Verma prepared a forged order had filed a complaint with them saying he was on leave on that day.
Superintendent of Police Ashutosh Bagri said that the matter is under investigation and more names will be added once fresh evidence and facts emerge.
The woman approached the police against the officer in 2020
Harshita Agrawal, who works as a LIC agent, had told the police that she had met Verma while preparing for civil services. They fell in love and married while Verma was posted in Harda. “We stayed in Verma’s government quarter as a couple," said Harshita. But Verma denied the marriage later on. Verma then had accused the woman of forging marriage documents with the help of papers she procured as a LIC agent. The woman in the past had approached Lasudiya police with proof of marriage. Verma too had approached the police against Harshita around four months ago accusing her of forgery, cheating and blackmailing.
Verma married four women!
As the investigation against Verma had progressed, it emerged that he had cheated on other women as well. While being the statistical officer in Rewa, Verma had married her domestic help. He married another woman after being promoted as a Deputy Collector. During his posting at Harda, Verma allegedly married Harshita but as she pressurised him to make the marriage public he declined and approached the police. He also married a woman while he’s working at Dhar.