Pune: Two accused have been arrested by Pune city police in connection with the State Reserve Police Force (SRPF) recruitment scam. They were taken in custody from Nanded, where they were arrested in the similar case.
The arrested accused have been identified as Shirish Bapusaheb Avdhoot (32) of Pimple Nilakh and Swapnil Dilip Salunkhe (32) of Vishal Nagar, Wakad Road. Both worked as OMR sheet checker with ETH Limited, the company which was given a contract to check written exam answer sheet of the candidates. Both are natives of Vishrambag in Sangli.
As per FIR registered with Wanowrie police station by SRPF Group 2 on May 1, three more accused identified as Pravin Bhatkar, Bhooshan Deoulkar and Tejas Nemade are wanted in the case.
On Wednesday, Judicial Magistrate (first class) Omkar Sane remanded the arrested accused to police custody till May 14. Assistant Public Prosecutor Kiran Bendbhar argued for police custody to arrest other accused and find out their involvement in similar cases.
The accused persons had tampered with answer sheets and increased marks of about 30 candidates to over 90 marks. Each candidate had paid between Rs five lakh and Rs 10 lakh for the purpose. The incident took place between March 12 and April 21 at Chaitraban Vishramgruh (officers club) on the SRPF campus in Ramtekdi.
“There were written tests for recruitment of 83 constables. The company was given contract of providing OMR sheets and then checking them. The physical tests of the candidates were held between March 12 and April 9. Those who qualified. appeared for the written tests held on the ground on April 21. We handed over the optical mark recognition (OMR) answer sheets to the five persons (accused). The checked the answer sheets at Chaitraban Vishramgruh till 4 am on April 22 and handed over the result to us. We posted the results for the 3,730 candidates on website. While checking the answer sheets of those who had scored very high marks, we learnt that they were tampered,” SRPF Inspector Nitikant Paradkar stated in his complaint.
According to police, the accused persons said that one PSI Pawar, who was posted to keep watch while answer sheets were being checked, was paid Rs two lakh per candidate. The candidates were asked not to answer questions by leaving most circles blank. Many candidates answer some questions while two of them had left the answer sheet blank. “The accused persons themselves filled the circle in the answer sheet with the help of answer key and got the sheet scanned to declare the result,” a police officer told Sakal Times.