Centre Forms Panel To Probe Disability Claims Made By Trainee IAS Officer

The Centre has formed a committee to verify “candidature claims and other details” submitted by trainee IAS officer Puja Khedkar, who has been accused of allegedly misusing disability and OBC quota to secure a position in the service.

The 2023-batch trainee IAS officer is also at the centre of a massive allegations of impropriety and misuse of her position as a bureaucrat.

The single-member committee will submit its report in two weeks.

“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, a candidate of Civil Services Examination-2022 and earlier CSEs. The committee will submit its report in 2 weeks,” the Department of Personnel and Training in a statement.

It is alleged that Ms Khedkar had been using a red-blue beacon, VIP number plates and a “Government of Maharashtra” sticker on her privately-owned Audi sedan.

Amid an escalating row, Ms Khedkar has been transferred to Washim.

“Government rules do not allow me to speak anything on this matter. So sorry, I cannot speak,” said Ms Khedkar responding to the media’s queries this morning.

It has emerged that she claimed to be a visually and mentally impaired candidate to seek concession, but did not undergo a mandatory medical test for confirmation.

Pune RTI activist Vijay Kumbhar also raised questions about Ms Khedkar’s appointment alleging that she did not fall under the OBC non-creamy layer as her father had assets worth Rs 40 crore.

“As per the rules, only those come under the OBC non-creme layer category whose parents are under 8 lac per annum of income, but their income shows that it is 40 crore. Her parents contested the recent Lok Sabha polls and all the property details are there in the affidavit,” said Mr Kumbhar.

“This raises the question of how Puja Khedkar could come under the OBC non-creamy layer category. A detailed investigation must be done on how she was appointed as an IAS officer in that category,” he said.

She had ranked 841 in the all-India exam — an unimpressive rank. In fact, the Union Public Service Commission that recruits top civil servants had challenged her selection, and a tribunal ruled against her in February 2023.

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