A round of training, four months of service and a regular salary made Manoj Kumar believe he was actually in the army. He had an appointment letter and an ID, too — except that all of it was fake, and he’d been tricked by an army jawan, who has now been arrested.
In a case that raises questions of national security, Manoj Kumar, who believed he’d been recruited thanks to sepoy Rahul Singh, did sentry duty at an army camp in Punjab’s Pathankot for four months since July. Manoj Kumar said he paid Rahul Singh Rs 8 lakh for the job. Both natives of western UP, they’d met at a recruitment rally in 2019 where Manoj Kumar was rejected while Rahul Singh got the job.
Rahul Singh quit the army last month citing ill health. This was around the same time that Manoj Kumar was told by some jawans that his papers were fake. Military Intelligence was on the case since.
On Tuesday, police from Meerut arrested Rahul Singh, a resident of Muzaffarnagar, on Tuesday along with a man named Bittu, who had posed as a senior army officer, while another accomplice, Raja Singh, is on the run. Further details about Bittu and Raja Singh were not available in the FIR. All three have been accused of cheating, forgery, assault, and criminal conspiracy, among other charges.
The battalion that Manoj Kumar thought he was “serving with” was handling the security of 272 Transit Centre in the border district of Pathankot, which sees several army units moving towards forward positions.
A resident of Ghaziabad district, Manoj Kumar said that after Rahul Singh had called him soon after being recruited, promising that he’ll get him a job in the army too.
“I was called at the camp (in Pathankot) and a man who appeared like a senior army officer took me inside, where they tested my cooking skills; later my physical examination was conducted too. They said I would have to do several odd jobs,” says the FIR. When on “sentry duty”, he was given a rifle by Rahul Singh.
“Over time, as I interacted more with other jawans and they saw my ‘appointment letter’ and ‘ID’, they said those were fake. Rahul told me everything is in order,” Manoj Kumar has alleged.
These jawans who saw the fake documents later informed the Military Intelligence, it is learnt.
Manoj Kumar was, meanwhile, sent by Rahul Singh to a “physical training academy in Kanpur” in October. From there, he was sent home.
“When my family and I spoke to Rahul recently, he first put some money into my father’s account,” Manoj Kumar has alleged. Later, he was allegedly assaulted by Rahul Singh and his two “scouting agents”, Bittu and Raja Singh, when he sought the Rs 8 lakh back and confronted him about the fraud.
Police said further investigation is on.
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