PSI scam: Role of Karnataka police recruitment cell comes under scrutiny – The Indian Express

The role of a recruitment cell of the Karnataka police, headed by a senior official, is under scrutiny in a scam that has surfaced in the conduct of examinations for the hiring of 545 police sub-inspectors (PSIs) to the state department.
On Wednesday, in a move seen as being linked to the police sub-inspectors recruitment scam, the additional director general of police (ADGP) for the recruitment cell and chairman of the PSI recruitment committee Amrit Paul was transferred out of the cell by the Karnataka government.
Paul, who has overseen police recruitments in the last two years, was transferred to the internal security department while a senior ADGP rank officer R Hitendra from the crime and technical services department was given the concurrent charge of the recruitment cell.
Paul’s transfer by the BJP government after the opposition Congress party called into question the continuance of the officer as the head of the recruitment cell amid allegations of corruption in the recruitment of PSIs. “We had questioned the issue of the continuance of the ADGP in charge of the recruitment cell. The order to transfer only this officer suggests that the government is concerned over the role of the police recruitment cell,” said Priyank Kharge, the Congress MLA from Kalaburagi.
One of the factors over which the recruitment cell located in Bengaluru has come under scrutiny is the fact that the allotment of examination centres for candidates aspiring to be police sub-inspectors was done centrally by the recruitment cell. The CID investigations into the PSI recruitment scam have revealed that as many as 22 of the 107 candidates, who were selected through a written and objective exam on October 3, 2021, from the Kalyana Karnataka region, took the exam at the Jnana Jyothi English School run by a former Kalaburagi BJP functionary Divya Hagaragi and her husband Rajesh Hagaragi.
Police sources said that the number of those selected from the Kalaburagi school exam centre was one of the highest among all 92 centres where the recruitment exam was held last year.
Seven of the 22 successful candidates who took the exam at the Jnana Jyothi school have been arrested after the CID investigation found that they received assistance at the exam centres for scoring high marks—despite answering very few questions in the 150-mark objective section of the exam.
While initially it was believed that only 11 of nearly 500 students, with roll numbers starting with 9221, who took the exam at the Kalaburagi centre (belonging to the former BJP functionary) were successful in the recruitment exam, the CID probe has revealed that the centre was allotted more than one series of roll numbers. The CID police on Tuesday arrested a candidate N V Sunil with a roll number starting with 9222. “He also took the exam at the same school. His signature has been verified for attendance of the exam at the centre,” said sources in the police.
The examination centre where the overall top rank winner in the recruitment exam wrote the test has seen 14 recruitments. The CID is investigating how candidates who paid middlemen Rs 30 lakh to Rs 70 lakh to rig the exam managed to get themselves allotted to examination centres where cheating would be facilitated by the agents. The role of the police recruitment cell is under scrutiny in this context.
The former BJP functionary Divya Hagaragi, against whom the CID has obtained an arrest warrant, has been elusive since the case was registered on April 9 by the CID.
Police sources said the school owner needs to be questioned in custody as there is evidence to indicate she was party to the cheating arrangement. Three teachers from the school who were invigilators for the recruitment exam have been arrested by the CID for aiding the exam malpractice.
The exam scam emerged after a candidate Veeresh N was found to have obtained 121 marks in the police sub-inspector recruitment exam despite answering only 21 out of 100 questions in an objective paper for 150 marks.

The key lynchpin involved in organising the police sub-inspectors recruitment exam fraud has been identified as Rudragouda D Patil alias R D Patil—a Congress block president for the Afzalpur region of the Kalaburagi district. Patil, 38, was arrested last week with his brother Mahantesh Patil in Kalaburagi by the CID police.
The recruitment exam for 545 police sub-inspectors—438 across Karnataka and 107 in Kalyana Karnataka—was held on October 3, 2021, at 92 examination centres in Bengaluru city, Mysuru city, Mangaluru, Hubbali Dharwad, Kalaburagi, Davangere, and Tumkur. Nearly 54,000 candidates out of nearly 1.5 lakh applicants appeared for the recruitment exam.
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