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Trainee IAS Officer, Who Used Siren On Private Car, Claimed Mental Disability

Trainee IAS Officer, Who Used Siren On Private Car, Claimed Mental Disability


Puja Khedkar had secured an All India Rank 841 in the UPSC exams.

Mumbai:

Puja Khedkar – an on-probation Civil Service officer – claimed to be visually and mentally impaired in an affidavit submitted the Union Public Service Commission to avail selection process concessions.

She had refused, six times, to undergo a mandatory medical test to confirm her disabilities. It is unclear how, or why, she was appointed if she, in fact, declined to appear for the examination.

Unconfirmed reports say the first test had been scheduled at Delhi’s All India Institute of Medical Sciences for April 2022. She skipped this claiming to have tested positive for COVID-19.

Two appointments for the following month were also skipped, as were those in July and August. And she only half-attended a sixth in September; she did not appear for a MRI test to assess vision loss.

The Commission subsequently challenged her selection and, in February 2023, a tribunal ruled against her. Nevertheless, somehow she managed to have her civil service appointment confirmed.

There are also questions over Ms Khedkar claiming OBC, or Other Backward Classes, status.

The falsified statements – and allowances so gained – allowed Ms Khedkar to pass the uber-competitive Civil Services Exam despite scoring a relatively low all-India rank of 841.

READ | Pune Trainee IAS Officer, Used Red Beacon On Private Audi, Transferred

Ms Khedkar was transferred from Pune to Washim after her ‘exploits’ – including the use of a siren on her private vehicle, an Audi luxury sedan – came to light. Pune Collector Suhas Divase had written to the Chief Secretary of the Maharashtra government to request Puja Khedkar’s re-assignment.

“The 2023 batch IAS officer will serve the remaining period of her probation as Supernumerary Assistant Collector in Washim district,” the order stated.

Apart from the use of a siren, VIP number plates, and a sticker saying ‘Government of Maharashtra’. Ms Khedkar had also been found using Pune Additional Collector Ajay More’s office while he was away. She reportedly removed his nameplate and furniture, and even demanded letterheads.

None of these perks are available for junior officers, who are on probation for 24 months. Reports suggest her father, a retired administrative officer, had pushed for her demands to be fulfilled.

Ms Khedkar, who hails from Ahmednagar, is a 2023-batch IAS officer.

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