12 in dock over recruitment of preachers in army

12 in dock over recruitment of preachers in army

The teachers were inducted for spiritual activities in the unit to deliver spiritual motivation to the troops.

Recruiting religious teaches in the army had turned into a way for some army officials to mint money, but they have landed in trouble after an inquiry was conducted into anonymous complaints about the issue.

However, it was an easy task for the internal investigators in the army to pinpoint the suspects as most of the monetary transactions involved took place through bank accounts.

A bribe of at least Rs 15.55 lakh was paid by nine people who managed to get the job in 2013.

A CBI investigation is on after the agency registered a case on the basis of a complaint from General Office Commanding (Hyderabad) N Srinivas Rao. 

12 army men including nine who were recruited as religious teachers, as well as five private persons are in the dock.

Religious teachers are inducted into the army for spiritual activities in the unit and to deliver spiritual motivation to the troops.

The CBI said that the army approached them with a complaint only last Thursday "due to the conduct of in-house inquiry which involved summoning civilian witnesses and getting details of bank accounts of all the accused from various parts of the country".

The recruitment process was dogged with trouble from the beginning, after Subedar M N Tripathi, a religious teacher in the army, was removed from the interview panel after his name cropped up in an input on him indulging in "unfair practices by approaching candidates".

In his place, another religious teacher, Satya Prakash, was appointed. However, the complaint, which makes part of the FIR said Tripathi did not let the opportunity go and managed to rope in Prakash and another religious teacher, M K Pandey, to influence the process.

Tripathi is said to have given Prakash a list of 20 candidates to be favoured during the recruitment process "by asking simple questions and giving maximum marks".

According to the CBI, Tripathi used the bank accounts of his five neighbours in Uttar Pradesh's Gorakhpur to collect bribe amount.

Pandey used Tripathi's help to reach out to prospective candidates while the internal army inquiry is said to have found that Prakash collected Rs 14 lakh in his bank account.

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