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HomeGlobal NewsForgery Scandal: IAS Probationer Puja Khedkar Under Investigation For Falsifying OBC And...

Forgery Scandal: IAS Probationer Puja Khedkar Under Investigation For Falsifying OBC And Disability Certificates – News18


Trainee IAS officer Puja Khedkar faces investigations for alleged forgery and seeking special privileges. (Image: X)

Trainee IAS officer Puja Khedkar faces investigations for alleged forgery and seeking special privileges. (Image: X)

The probe into allegations of forgery against Puja Khedkar was initially launched by the Maharashtra chief secretary’s office and director’s office of the LBSNAA. Later the central government formed a single member committee to probe into her candidature and other issues.

The central government has constituted a single member committee consisting of an additional secretary ranked IAS officer to probe into the candidature of IAS probationer, Puja Khedkar.

Meanwhile, the Maharashtra chief secretary’s office as well as the director’s office of the Lal Bahadur Shastri National Academy of Administration (LBSNAA) in Mussoorie has also initiated an inquiry into allegations of forgery against Khedkar, an IAS probationer, currently posted in Washim.

The inquiry revolves around Puja Khedkar allegedly forging Other Backward Classes (OBC) non-creamy layer (NCL) certificates and disability certificates.

“The Central Government has constituted a single-member Committee, chaired by a senior officer of the rank of Additional Secretary to Government of India to verify the candidature claims and other details of Ms. Puja Manorma Dilip Khedkar, who was a candidate of Civil Services Examination-2022 and earlier CSEs.The Committee will submit its report in 2 weeks, ” said a statement issued by the ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions.

A senior source at the government said the inquiry was initiated after Pune District Collector Suhas Diwase submitted an exhaustive report about the probationary IAS officer’s ‘sense of entitlement’ and behavioural issues while on probation period.

This development comes as Khedkar faces widespread criticism for her antics, with senior IAS officers calling for an exhaustive investigation and strict legal action against her.

A senior IAS officer with the Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) told News18 that there are instances of dismissal or termination of service in such cases of forgery, other anomalies or for any emerging scandal against probationers.

“The probationer in question is not under the DoPT yet, because she is undergoing training and she is now under LBSNAA. The IAS academy initiates inquiry into such allegations or discrepancies. And the institute may issue a statement once the inquiry is over,” the senior IAS officer said.

The DoPT, which directly comes under the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO), is the cadre controlling authority for the IAS officers.

“There are guidelines for such cases in which a probation shows behavioural issues or sense of entitlement that go against the very nature of the service and integrity. The protocol will be followed,” a senior IAS officer serving in LBSNAA said.

System’s ‘failure’?

There are questions being raised about the system’s ability to verify claims related to OBC non-creamy layer (NCL) and disabilities. Khedkar is being accused of falsifying her disability and forging OBC-NCL documents.

Her father, Deelip Khedkar, who ran as a candidate for Prakash Ambedkar’s VBA (Vanchit Bahujan Aghadi), declared assets worth Rs 40 crore in his election affidavit, including his and his wife’s ownership of around 29 agricultural plots, seven commercial buildings and seven flats (residential) and around 10 commercial buildings.

Dileep Khedkar, who retired as a bureaucrat in the state, later joined politics.

“Despite being from a privileged background and not belonging to the non-creamy layer of OBC categories, she forged documents to falsely claim eligibility for these reserved categories. This deceit led to her securing a spot in the IAS,” former cabinet secretary KM Chandrasekhar said.

“How could she prevent the medical check ups by the AIIMS, which is a mandatory procedure for all probationers?” Chandrasekhar asked.

He pointed out that Khedkar faced legal procedures which included a case filed with the Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT).

“How did she get through and got accepted into the service? This situation underscores the challenges in maintaining the integrity of the selection process, even in institutions like the UPSC, which is renowned for its unquestionable reputation,” he further added.

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