Thursday, July 25, 2024

Pooja Khedkar – Fake Quota Queen or An IAS Scandal?!

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Pooja Khedkar, a probationary IAS officer, has been accused of manipulating the system to gain special privileges. The talk of the town is how she and her family exploited two quotas to ensure her selection into the Indian Administrative Services! Allegations accuse her of misusing quotas meant for the underprivileged.

The Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) has demanded detailed reports on her case, with potential termination from service on the horizon. Let’s explore her case and understand how some individuals exploit provisions to the detriment of genuinely oppressed sections of society!

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IAS Pooja Khedkar And Alleged Abuse of Power

ऑडी पर लाल बत्ती लगाने वाली पुणे की ट्रेनी IAS Puja Khedkar का ट्रांसफर, विवादों के चलते हुए एक्शन | 🇮🇳 LatestLY हिन्दी
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Pooja Khedkar is a 2022-batch IAS officer of the Maharashtra cadre. She secured an All India Rank (AIR) of 841 in the UPSC exam. However, her achievements are tainted by allegations of exploitation of the system and high-handed behavior. A controversy erupted when it was discovered that she used her private Audi car with a red-blue beacon light and VIP number plate.

Reports state that she also demanded facilities not available to probationary IAS officers.

Allegedly she wanted a separate cabin, car, residential quarters, and a peon.

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Additionally, these demands were made even before she officially joined her duty on 3rd June 2024.

Disability certificate of shunted IAS officer Pooja Khedkar under cloud, OBC non-creamy layer too being questioned | Pune News - Times of India
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The Pune collector, Suhas Diwse, reported that Pooja Khedkar’s father retired as a Maharashtra government’s administrative officer. Allegedly, he pressured the district collector’s office to fulfill her demands. She even removed a senior official’s nameplate to use his office space in his absence. These actions, submitted to Suhas Diwse tell a tale of blatant misuse of power and privilege! Currently, she will continue her probationary period in Washim till 30th July 2024. Her attitude towards public service undermines the essence of IAS and her probationary period.

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Quota Queen – Alleged Fraudulent Claims of Disability and OBC Status

The controversy surrounding Pooja Khedkar’s bad behavior caught media fire. This led to allegations of fraudulent claims regarding her disability claims and OBC status. Allegedly, Pooja Khedkar submitted fake disability and non-creamy layer OBC certificate to secure her position in the civil services exam. Reports state she claims to be mentally ill with many disabilities.

Why Is Pooja Khedkar’s Claim On Disability Quota Fraudulent?

Pooja Khedkar IAS : કોણ છે દિવ્યાંગનું નકલી સર્ટિફિકેટ લઈને IAS બનેલી પૂજા ખેડકર? જાણો શું છે પુરો વિવાદ? | Pooja Khedkar IAS : Who is Pooja Khedkar who became IAS with
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  • Reports state that her high AIR rank was the outcome of her disability and non-creamy layer OBC status, not her marks.
  • She claimed COVID-19-positive status to avoid a check-up at AIIMS in April 2022.
  • In May 2022, she missed two other appointments at AIIMS and Safdarjung Hospital in Delhi.
  • She missed another medical test appointment in July 2022.
  • In August 2022, she came for testing but missed an MRI required to confirm her disability.
  • She submitted an external MRI report which was rejected by the UPSC.
  • The UPSC authorities challenged her acceptance by the Central Administrative Tribunal.
  • The Tribunal ruled against her selection in February 2023.
  • At a later date, an external MRI was accepted and her IAS candidature was confirmed.   

This sequence of events raises significant questions about the reality of her disability. Moreover, it questions the integrity of the selection process that confirmed her appointment. What is the true extent of her deceit to gain disability status?! This mystery is yet to be solved!

Did Pooja Khedkar Exploit OBC Quota?

The alleged misuse of disability quota by Pooja Khedkar brings to light another allegation against her. It seems that she or her family exploited the system to defraud the government. RTI activist Vijay Kumbhar exposed inconsistencies in Pooja Khedkar’s claims on the OBC non-creamy layer status. Pooja’s father, Dilip Khedkar, contested elections in the 2024 Lok Sabha.

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Dilip Khedkar  was forced to submit an affidavit that revealed assets worth Rs 40 crore, including agricultural land, shops, apartments, gold, diamonds, and multiple cars.

This wealth made the family ineligible to claim OBC non-creamy layer status.

Some reports state that her mother is part of the Panchayat at Ahmednagar. Thus, the activist questioned how Pooja Khedkar could use the OBC quota in the civil services when she is not eligible for the same. Moreover, how can a candidate who admits mental illness and multiple disabilities be of service to the nation? And why did the UPSC accept external certificates and reports when the candidate deliberately missed or avoided UPSC mandated medical examinations? 

A video clip of Pooja’s mock interview on X shows that she claims to be not in contact with her father. Her status as a separated from family might just exempt her from violation of OBC Quota!! However, reports state how her father pressurized officials to give in to her demands in Pune! Therefore, is she really separated from her father leaglly? If yes, then why did her father support her bad behavior? If no, then did her family defraud the Indian government?!

Points To Ponder

What rules did IAS probationer Pooja Khedkar allegedly flout
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Pooja Khedkar’s unwarranted demands for privileges as a probationary officer brought a firestorm into public view. Her use of a private Audi with a VIP number plate proves her unreal sense of entitlement. The presence of a blue and red beacon light on her private vehicle shows her blatant disregard for regulations. Thankfully, her behavior brought the irregularities of her appointment to light!

While the nation awaits the result of investigations and clarity, the case of Pooja Khedkar highlights why quotas in Bharat were unsuccessful in uplifting the oppressed. Her case showcases the corrupt ways the UPSC system can defraud the system for personal gain. Her actions not only undermine the integrity of the IAS but also highlight the broader issue of quota exploitation.

Let’s hope that the Union government takes decisive action against her to prevent such misuse. The government in the state and center should ensure that the rights of genuinely oppressed sections of society are protected. Hopefully, the PMO’s demand for detailed reports would lead to the termination of Khedkar’s services even if her claim on quotas is verified. Why? Because her behavior and attitude showcase an aptitude against the ethos of public service. The UPSC system needs to be vigilant to prevent in the future against such deception! The civil services are essential to the growth of the nation. Thus, it must uphold the principles of fairness and justice without bias or favoritism.

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