Army sources on Tuesday said that Manoj Kumar had already “served” four months and had even received a “salary” of Rs 12,500 per month following his “appointment” earlier in July.
According to an FIR filed by Manoj, he was posted with the 108 Infantry Battalion TA (Territorial Army) ‘Mahar’ in Pathankot’s 272 Transit Camp, complete with ID and uniform.
In reality, Ghaziabad-based Kumar (in his early 20s), was simply doing odd jobs and covering for Rahul Singh, a sepoy in the Indian Army who “recruited” him in return for Rs 16 lakh. Singh originally belongs to the Daurala region of Meerut. He was arrested along with one of his aides for the “recruitment scam” on Tuesday.
On the basis of MI (military intelligence) inputs, Meerut police have arrested Rahul Singh and one of his accomplices, Bittu Singh. His other aide, Raja Singh, is still at large. An FIR has been filed by Kumar and all three have been booked under IPC Sections 420 (cheating), 467 (forgery of valuable security), 471 (fraud), 406 (criminal breach of trust), 323 (voluntarily causing hurt), 506 (criminal intimidation) and 120B (criminal conspiracy).
The battalion at the time was handling the security of 272 Transit Centre situated in the border district of Pathankot in Punjab from where several Army units made constant movements to forward positions.
On October 22, Rahul Singh, 25, who joined the Army in 2019, resigned on health grounds. During his stint, he would pose as a high-ranking officer and “help” young aspirants get recruited. His “two aides would spread the word” and draw the aspirants to him. Kumar was one of them.
Army sources further revealed that to convince Kumar that he had been “recruited”, Singh would call him to the post in uniform and hand over a rifle to him to perform sentry duty. TOI has accessed a video clip in which Kumar is purportedly seen holding the rifle.
Sharing details of the serious lapse, Kumar said, “I was called at the 272 Transit Camp and a senior-looking Army officer took me inside the camp where my culinary skills were tested and later my physical examination was conducted. Soon, I was informed by Rahul Singh that I had been recruited but would initially have to do multiple jobs. I was even provided an Insas rifle and posted as sentry in the camp itself.”
He added, “As time passed, I interacted with other jawans and when they saw my appointment letter and ID, they said it was fake. When I spoke to Rahul Singh, he rubbished the fake document theory. To get rid of me, he sent me to a physical training academy in Kanpur in late October. From there I was sent home. When I confronted him recently, he began to intimidate me.”
During his stay in the camp, Kumar’s Army friends became suspicious of his credentials and subsequently reported it to military intelligence (MI), which further probed the matter.
(inputs from TOI)