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Dr Puja Khedkar's exam fraud & misuse of power

Pooja Khedkar claimed to be visually impaired and mentally ill in the affidavit submitted to the Union Public Service Commission, which enabled her to receive special concessions during the exam.

News Arena Network - Pune - UPDATED: July 10, 2024, 08:08 PM - 4 mins read

Trainee IAS Puja Khedkar's disability claim & misuse of power

Dr Puja Khedkar's exam fraud & misuse of power

Trainee IAS Puja Khedkar - X


In a recent controversy, probationary IAS officer Puja Khedkar was relocated from Pune due to allegations of power misuse. 

 

This incident brought to light revelations about her application for the civil services exam. 

 

It was discovered that she had claimed to be visually impaired and mentally ill in the affidavit submitted to the Union Public Service Commission, which enabled her to receive special concessions during the exam. Despite her low examination scores, these concessions allowed her to successfully pass the exams and secure an All India Rank (AIR) of 821.

 

Subsequently, the UPSC requested her to undergo medical tests to verify her reported disabilities, but Khedkar declined to attend these examinations on six separate occasions.

 

She was supposed to have her initial medical examination at AIIMS in Delhi on April 22, 2022, but she missed it, stating that she had tested positive for COVID-19. She also missed subsequent appointments on May 26 and 27 at AIIMS and Safdarjung Hospital in Delhi.

 

She avoided further tests, missing another appointment on July 1. Although she initially agreed to a medical examination on August 26, 2022, she didn't attend the crucial MRI on September 2, which was meant to assess her vision loss.

 

Instead of attending these tests, she submitted an MRI report from an external centre, but the UPSC rejected it. The UPSC then challenged her selection in the Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT), which ruled against her on February 23, 2023.

 

Despite this, her MRI certificate was subsequently approved, confirming her IAS position.

 

In addition to the disability claims, discrepancies were identified in Khedkar's assertions of OBC's non-creamy layer status.

 

RTI activist Vijay Kumbhar mentioned that Dilip Khedkar, Puja Khedkar's father, declared his assets to be valued at Rs 40 crore in his election affidavit. Given her father’s wealth, Khedkar's qualification for OBC non-creamy layer status has come into question. Dilip Khedkar had run for the 2024 Lok Sabha elections on a Vanchit Bahujan Aaghadi ticket.

 

"How can such income fall into the non-creamy layer? She has admitted to being mentally ill and a person with multiple disabilities. However, she skipped medical examinations several times. How did she qualify for IAS? These are big questions," the activist said.

 

After a controversy arose, it was revealed that the Maharashtra government transferred Khedkar from Pune to Washim due to complaints of power misuse. 

 

This decision came after Pune Collector Dr Suhas Diwase sent a letter to the Chief Secretary. Khedkar's new role in Washim will be as a supernumerary assistant collector. During her probation in Pune, Khedkar was found to have made several demands for privileges that were not allowed to probationary officers. 

 

These included using her private Audi car with a red-blue beacon light and a VIP number plate and installing a ‘Maharashtra government’ board on it. 

 

Additionally, she requested an official car, accommodation, an office chamber, and additional staff.

 

According to reports, her father, who is a retired administrative officer, allegedly exerted pressure on the District Collector's office to meet her demands. He reportedly threatened consequences if his daughter's demands were not satisfied.

 

She even occupied the ante-chamber of the additional collector in his absence and instructed staff to provide personalised office supplies.




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